utopia


Liam Young, 19 10 14


Opening on October 4th at Z33 in Belgium, Future Fictions. Perspectives on worldbuilding explores how contemporary artists, designers and architects relate to future thinking and imaging: from map-ping, questioning and criticizing, to developing complex visions about the structures and systems that may shape our life in the future. Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young will première a 3 screen projection work ‘New City’, a series of near future city skylines. New City is a collaboration with the authors Jeff NoonPat Cadigan and Tim Maughan and musicians Coldcut.

With these visions/fictions, Z33 wishes to shift the debate away from what is possible, plausible and probable towards what is preferable: Future Fictions there-fore is essentially a project about ideas and ideals, about dreams beyond hope and fear. Can we learn to critically assess the future visions presented? Which criteria would be valid in doing so?  In other words, can we learn to become ‘future literate’? Other artists include Dunne & RabyAtelier Van Lieshout, Near Future Laboratory and many more. Curated by Karen Verschooren. Photo credit Kristof Vrancken/Z33

utopia


Liam Young, 06 10 12


‘KINGDOM COME’.  Central America 2012 – 13.0.0.0.0

Download Kingdom Come Studio Brief

The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio run by Liam Young of Tomorrows Thoughts Today and Kate Davies. The studio ventures out on biannual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains, and obsolete ecologies. Far from the metropolis lie the dislocated hinterlands that support the mechanizations of urban life. A city like London is thoroughly embedded in a global network of landscapes and infrastructures that are typically forgotten, unseen, ignored or only presented through particular media narratives. Each year we navigate a different global cross section and seek to map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. For Unknown Fields the journey is really about seeing our familiar world differently; we explore these alternative worlds as a means to understand our own in new ways, either through physical expeditions or the design of speculative future projects.

This year as the world of new agers, mystics and psychonauts pilgrimage south, Unknown Fields journeys with them to Central America to ponder the rise and fall of cities, civilizations, and empires, both ancient and modern, and to investigate the cultural and technological infrastructures that underpin them – a network of complex systems that have proved critical to their prosperity and ultimately often implicated in their collapse.

Empires rise and fall and the infrastructural traces they leave behind are evidence of their greatest dreams and their deepest fears. They are the remains of a speculative future, the skeletal frames of world building dreams, the ruled lines on a page soon to be filled with the goings on of a day soon to come. In this time of crisis the future is becoming a project again. As the Mayan long count calendar begins a new phase we will imagine what comes next.

utopia


Darryl Chen, 28 07 09


Last weekend the Watermans Gallery sponsored a kick-off event for the ‘Power of 8′ project. Opening up our discussion to the public, a steady stream of participants ranging from the radically activist to the playfully naive populated a main table with walking houses, snow stimulators, solar powered airships, public free boxes, new wireless connectivity and human spinning tops. More images here.

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utopia


Liam Young, 09 07 09


On 14th July at the Barbican Liam Young hosted a screening of two amazing films, ‘Buckminster Fuller Meets the Hippies’ and ‘Counter Communities’, for the Architecture Foundation’s Architecture on Film series. See the Spaceship Earth and the Designer Guru website for film and event details. Liam wrote the following essay to accompany the screening.

Once Upon an Island: Utopian Cowboys, Guru Astronauts and Other Hopeful Tales of Misadventure

The hippies gather round, they sit together on the grass as Bucky holds court at their centre, waxing lyrical, a suited up,  button down island in a sea of beads, headbands, beards and cowboy hats. Children giggle, smoke and optimism fill the air and the crowd blows bubbles that float off, glistening like the geodesic domes of Bucky’s utopian dreams. The hippies had lots of questions and it appeared Buckminster Fuller had all the answers. He was a prophet, a counter culture guru, a mad scientist and maverick architect. For Guinea Pig B, as he came to call the experiment that was the fashioning of his own life, we are all astronauts on this great spaceship earth, and any individual has the capacity to change its course.

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utopia


Darryl Chen, 24 06 09


Tomorrow’sThoughtsToday has been invited to participate in collaborative art project The Power of 8. The project seeks to bring together 8 future thinkers to speculate on an optimistic future. TTT is being joined by experts in the fields of nanotechnology, advertising, permaculture, psychology and political science, and is being brought together by designer and filmmaker Anab Jain. Outcomes of the collaboration will inhabit a West London gallery and will also travel overseas. Watch this space.

utopia


Darryl Chen, 04 01 09


Underrated urbanism par excellence. 1971 yielded a planning treatise that seems now to transcend its postwar era and enter the cut-up remixed world of the fantastic now in a way that Collage City only ever dreamt.

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utopia


Darryl Chen, 19 12 08


With anxiety one of the themes of the early twenty-first century, it is worth revisiting Paolo Soleri and his Arcology projects of the tumultuous late-60s.

From Hexahedron, Mesa City and Babelnoah, these late-Modern and ecologically driven projects are much more than a foretelling of a clean-energy and resource-conscious future, than paint a paranoid vision of a future we perhaps now inhabit.

Hexahedron

Babelnoah

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utopia


Liam Young, 20 10 08


Invisible Man by Jeff Wall

“Going mad is the only way of staying sane.”  J.G.Ballard

In addition to the design studio I am running at the Architectural Association I am also running a studio with Paolo Zaide at the Bartlett school of Architecture.

 The Studio is titled Altered States. The studio outline follows.

Lost on strange islands suspended within the familiar spaces of the everyday is the vagabond troupe of DIY eccentrics, adventurers and malcontents who conjure their own atlas of Micronations. These fictional states vary in physical scale from the islands of 17th century pirate utopias, to an abandoned anti air craft tower in the middle of the North Sea or the sitting room of an anonymous flat in east London. ‘They merge fact, myth and speculation in their embrace of a parallel world, motivated by political subterfuge, legal loopholes, an immoderate love of royal titles, or a disenchantment with the commonplace.’*

This year Unit 6 will author our own archipelago of fictional states. We will navigate this critical space between the actual and the imagined, a space where architecture can enter into new relations with the territories of science and fiction. We will wander off the map, through the speculative landscapes of dreams and desires, on a future safari into brave new worlds that have mutated from our own. These projective states will actually be readings of the world we are now in, an experience of the present as a site of possible futures. Projects will slip suggestively between mistakes, myths and lies – a ‘combinatory capacity’ of infinite and unsettling possibilities. (more…)