cities


Liam Young, 25 02 15


Available to download now- 1,49€ (iTunes), 1,78€ (Amazon)*

Brave New Now is a collection of specially commissioned short stories set in a fictional future city developed by speculative architect Liam Young for the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale. Authors have been invited to inhabit the city, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through narrative. It is a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated present, in which we can imagine the wonders and possibilities of emerging biological and technological research. Authors include Warren Ellis, Bruce Sterling, Tim MaughanJonathan Dotse, Rachel Armstrong, Samit Basuand Anil Menon.  These speculative fictions are illustrated with a collection of photographs of the present, gathered from a group of photographers who venture out into the world documenting the weak signals and emerging phenomena that have been extrapolated into our imaginary city. In Brave New Now it is not clear what is fact and what is fiction, but rather the two productively intertwine.  The two modes of working sit side by side and we slip suggestively between the real and the imagined, between the documentary and the visionary, where speculative fictions become a way of exploring a world that the everyday struggles to grasp.

The future is not something that washes over us like water, it is something we must actively shape and define. Some of the people we meet in the Brave New Now are swept up in what the city could be, others are reserved and look on with caution. It is a place of wonder and of fear. We meet friends and strangers, we hear their stories, and we imagine our own life here. We have not walked these streets before, what things may come, in the Brave New Now.

Preview of ebook foreword

Brave New Now
Editor: Liam Young
Authors: Warren Ellis, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Bruce Sterling, Rachel Armstrong, Samit Basu, Anil Menon.
Photographers: Michael Wolf, Greg Girard, Neil Chowdhury, Vincent Fournier, Thomas Weinberger, Charlie Koolhaas, Greg White, Daniel Beltrá, Victoria Sambunaris, Christina Seely, Brice Richard, Bas Princen.
Concept Art: Daniel Dociu, Hoving Alahaidoyan.

“A projective fiction is a critical tool that is both an extraordinary vision of tomorrow and a provocative examination of the pertinent questions facing us today.” Liam Young

This digital publication was commissioned by Close, Closer chief curator Beatrice Galilee, Art Direction by Zak Group and graphic design by Raquel Pinto.
*The support of The British Council has enabled a discounted distribution price of Brave New Now ebook.

cities


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.

cities


Darryl Chen, 26 06 11


Excerpts from Darryl Chen’s Productive Dystopia essay in ‘Utopia Forever’:

“Our narrative is modernity, and our dystopias are the super-planned, re-planned and unplanned environments of the modern world. The aberrations and abandoned spaces of our modern environments, the margins that are squeezed by the excesses of development, the new natures that are produced in lieu of what was natural, the waste that is left behind after the flight of capital— these are the instable interstices of modern life. They are latent territories that are both the unforeseen consequences of our modern impulse, as well as the raw material for a renewed project on the city. (more…)

cities


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.

(more…)

cities


Liam Young, 21 04 09


You are either a DC fan or a Marvel fan. These two competing comic universes breed a strange kind of loyalty. Both have their own stable of celebrated heroes and reviled villains. DC writers have penned the adventures of Superman and Batman and Marvel has breathed life into the likes of Spiderman, Daredevil and the X-Men. Perhaps more intriguingly however, these two comic icons each have a very different approach to the rendering of the cityscapes in which their epic struggles of good and evil play out.

The DC atlas is made up of a universe of imaginary cities, worlds off the map, which can only be walked through the pages of their comics. Marvel heroes though, are always spotted flying through the streets of real cities, the familiar spaces that many of us mortals tread each day. DC invents extraordinary cities as stage sets for their stories, Marvel invents extraordinary stories that are staged in the everyday.  In different ways these two fictional worlds are expressions of our own dreams and fears, desires and frailties. They are reflections of the culture we aspire to, and the depths to which we see ourselves descending. (more…)

cities


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.

(more…)

cities


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

(more…)

cities


Darryl Chen, 27 07 08


[originally published in Architectural Review, Feb 2003]

Shanghai presents a unique almost control-model kind of urban subject matter among world metropolises. It is a city which after experiencing incredible economic prosperity through the turn of the nineteenth century froze its free market development under thirty years of failed socialist revolution, and then started again on an accelerating trajectory towards capitalist ideals. The city currently exists in a giddy state of equilibrium between government control and market forces, the monolithic state regime acting as a valve for releasing massive forces which would otherwise send the country into a multi-directional frenzy of socio-economic instability. (more…)