visiting school


Liam Young, 24 03 15


Applications for the Summer 2015 expedition close on May 01

The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on expeditions to the ends of the earth to bear witness to alternative worlds, alien landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wilderness. These distant landscapes – the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine, are embedded in global systems that connect them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives.

We are inviting you to join us for our Summer expedition, to work alongside international collaborators from the worlds of film, science, technology and fiction and travel through the Lithium Fields of Bolivia and the Atacama Desert. The Unknown Fields summer expedition is open to all architects, designers, artists, writers and interested parties, students or professionals.

For our Summer Expedition 2015 we map a landscape spectrum spanning rain soaked forests to parched flat earth as we blaze a trail from the Bolivian Amazon to the Atacama Desert. In the heart of Bolivia, we will bear witness to a site, which epitomizes a burgeoning new era of electric fuel. We chase the grey rush to Salar de Uyuni, where under ethereal inverted skies lies over half of the world’s reserves of Lithium. Buried here, beneath the mirror of the world’s largest salt flat, is a grey gold – a substance in every one of our pockets, in every gleaming device, and every electric car. Where a gear-shift in human technological development has rendered this landscape one of the most sought after on earth. This is the feeding ground of the new green energy revolution. If the future is electric then the future is here, lying in wait for the world. Our journey will take us to celebrated landscapes like these, the future of which is dictated by worlds beyond their spectacular horizons. From the salt flats we will drift through the Amazon, in search of the lost cities of the forest, and whispered tales of El Dorado, another gold rush long consumed by the trees. We climb to the top of the world, the highest city on the planet; the Bolivian capital of La Paz and we head down to the bed of a long lost sea; the Atacama desert. If the Bolivian salt flats are mirrors to the sky above then the Atacama is a mirror reflecting its possible future, for it is a site that has witnessed by hundreds of years of copper and nitrate mining. We will see this exhausted ground stripped bare and disappearing on the wind. From these dust clouds the Unknown Fields division of speculators, and prospectors will imagine the many futures of Bolivia’s charged ground. A ground of possibility, and potential, on the verge of change – a proving ground in a state of becoming.

Fees- All inclusive Workshop and Expedition fee: £1900. Participants are required to make their own way to meet Unknown Fields at the expedition starting point in Santiago, Chile on July 22nd.

For more details read below (more…)

visiting school


Liam Young, 29 05 14


Sign Up Here! Applications close June 6th. Open to All.

The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on expeditions to the ends of the earth to explore peripheral landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wilderness. These distant landscapes – the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine – are embedded in global systems that connect them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives. Each year we navigate a different global supply chain and seek to map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. Past journeys have traversed the mines of Madagascar and the Australian outback, the faded nuclear futures of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the black military technologies and conspiracy theorists of the Nevada desert and Burning Man Festival.

This year we travel East to ride the waves of massive container ships and trace the shadows of the world’s desires along supply chains and cargo routes, to explore the dispersed choreographies and atomised geographies that global sea trade brings into being. These are the contours of our distributed city, stretched around the earth from the hole in the ground to the high street shelf. Consignments of the precious and industrial, raw and refined, mechanical and alive, drift across infrastructural seas on vast Panamax, Aframax and Suezmax from cavernous factory floors via huge ports like Shanghai, Singapore and Busan and through the bottleneck excavations of Panama and Suez. Our journey to Asia will take us behind the scenes of our modern world, cutting a cross section through the secret lives of products, where intense pockets of activity in wildly unexpected places supply cultures far removed with the fulfilment of their every need and desire. Joining us on our journey will be international collaborators and specialists from the worlds of design, technology, science, art and fiction, and together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions and impromptu tutorials that will be chronicled in a publication and film.

Eligibility- The Unknown Fields summer expedition is open to all architects, designers, artists, writers and interested parties, students or professionals. A portfolio or CV is not required, only the online application form and payment.

Fees- All inclusive Expedition fee: £1600, which includes flights from London, all internal transport, accommodation, entrance fees, meetings, consultants, workshops and all other group costs (excludes meals). Please note: If you are based in Asia you can meet Unknown Fields on location and we can arrange a reduced fee that excludes return flights from London.

+ £60 Architectural Association Membership. If you are already a member of the AA, this is not required.

contact info(at)unknownfieldsdivision.com with any questions.

 

visiting school


Liam Young, 21 05 13


Sign Up Now! Applications close June 14th. Open to All.

Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young’s co run studio the Unknown Fields Division is launching the call for applications for their 2013 summer expedition to Madagascar. The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on expeditions to the ends of the earth to explore peripheral landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wilderness. These landscapes – the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine – are embedded in global systems that connect them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives. Each year they navigate a different trajectory as we seek to map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures.

In times past an anarchist community of pirates called Madagascar home.  It was an island beyond the law and off the map, a place of rogues, booty and bounties. These were outlaws moored on a marooned ecosystem. Set adrift 88 million years ago, the island is a castaway in the Indian Ocean, inhabited by a band of ecological stowaways. In this splendid isolation it has evolved into an unparalleled wonderland of the weird and unique, diverse and unbelievable.

A political coup in 2009 left the country adrift once more – isolated from the international community, deprived of foreign aid and conservation funding. One of the planet’s most precious ecological treasures is home to one of its poorest nations and it raises difficult and complex questions about the relationship between necessity and luxury. Amidst political uncertainty, the island’s fragile and unique ecology is being smuggled out illegally, boat by boat, gem by gem. Rare tortoises leave in rucksacks, forests are carved into the ebony fingerboards on Gibson Guitars or $1million rosewood beds sold in China.

In the run up to the country’s first election since the coup Unknown Fields heads to Madagascar to catalogue the push and pull of economy and ecology and to trace the shadows of the world’s desires across the landscapes of this treasured island.  Along our way we seek to uncover some of the complex value negotiations that play out across this unique island and craft new stories from statistics, data, predictions, projections, measurements and offsets.

The Division will venture through wild west sapphire towns and mining landscapes and trek through rainforests ringing with the song of the Indri in search of rare and undiscovered treasures, a menagerie of preciousness and scarcity, of rubies, minerals and exotic spices, of ring tailed Lemurs, ‘octopus’ trees, and carnivorous plants; of pigmy chameleons, tomato frogs and moon moths. We will travel by plane and pirogue, train and taxi-brousse, from rough roads to rough seas, to fishing villages and up rivers silted with eroded soils. Unknown Fields will reimagine a territory that is equally wondrous and scarred as we follow the trail of global resource extraction into the heart of the most unique ecosystem on the planet.

Joining them on tour will be international collaborators from the worlds of technology, science and fiction, and together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions and impromptu tutorials that will be chronicled in a publication and film developed en route.

Eligibility

The Unknown Fields summer expedition is open to all architects, designers, artists, writers and interested parties, students or professionals.  A portfolio or CV is not required, only the online application form and payment.

Applications

The deadline for applications is 14 June 2013. Application forms and additional information are available online at: www.aaschool.ac.uk/unknownfields and applications can be submitted to: visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk or contact info@unknownfieldsdivision.com for questions. All participants travelling from abroad are responsible for securing any visa required. After payment of fees, the AA can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop.

All inclusive Expedition fee: £1500, which includes flights from London, all internal transport, accommodation, entrance fees, meetings, consultants, workshops and all other group costs (excludes meals). Please note: If you are based closer to Madagascar you can meet Unknown Fields on location in Antananarivo and we can arrange a reduced fee that excludes return flights from London.

+ £60 Architectural Association Membership. If you are already a member of the AA, this is not required.

visiting school


Liam Young, 17 10 12


As part of an ongoing collaboration with Archis + Volume, Liam Young and the Unknown Fields Division have co authored VOLUME 31: Guilty Landscapes. VOLUME joined Unknown Fields on ther Summer 2011 expedition form the chernobyl Exclusion Zone to Baikonur Cosmodrome and this research, developed  alongside Unknown Fields previous missions to dislocated hinterlands around the world have informed the issues theme. Guilt has been effectively used to control and manipulate the masses. But it can also be the start of a change for the better: awareness, concern, action. Engagement and guilt are never far apart. Engagement is sublimated guilt. We can build on guilt, but can we build with guilt? Is guilt a material to design with? You can see the table of contents or check out a sneak preview of the issue.  

In three sections: revelations, confessions, and atonement, the issue presents a global scan of large-scale guilty landscapes and our design relation to them. A major section is dedicated to the Chernobyl ‘exclusion zone’ as a post nuclear disaster area, with other contributions focusing on landscapes transformed by mining industries, waste, human atrocities and more, as well as ways to atone for these criminal acts.

visiting school


Liam Young, 05 05 11


Liam Young and Kate Davies, leaders of the Architectural Association’s award winning Unknown Fields Division, have announced a recruitment drive for their new annual nomadic studio which will run from 11-22 July. You have until May 20th to SIGN UP! You can check all the costs and arrangements on this flyer and then you can sign up now to join them on an extraordinary design research expedition through the unknown fields that lie between nature and technology and collaborate with Volume magazine and Phillips Technologies on the production of an annual publication and touring exhibition. This first year takes them on a cross section through landscapes of obsolete futures from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, through the Ukraine and the oil fields of Azerbaijan to rocket launch pad of kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrone.

THE UNKNOWN FIELDS DIVISION is a nomadic studio that sets off on an annual expedition to the ends of the earth exploring forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Each year we navigate a different global cross-section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. We are both visionaries and reporters as the sites we encounter will afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios.

This year, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight, we will pack our Geiger counters and space Suits as we chart a course from the atomic to the cosmic to investigate the unknown fields between the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Ukraine and Gagarin’s launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. BBeginning in the shadows of nuclear disaster we will survey the irradiated wilderness and bear witness to a sobering apocalyptic vision. We will skirt the retreating tide of the Aral Sea and mine the ‘black gold’ in the Caspian oilfields and caviar factories. We will wander through the cotton fields of Kazakhstan and tread the ancient silk road before reaching the shores of the cosmic ocean bathed in the white light of satellites blasting into tomorrow’s sky. In these shifting fields of nature and artifice we will re-examine our preservationist and conservationist attitudes toward the natural world and document a cross-section through a haunting landscape of the ecologically fragile and the technologically obsolete.

Joining us on our travels will be a troupe of collaborators, photographers and filmakers from the worlds of technology, science and fiction including the Phillips Technologies Design Probes research Lab and Archis/Volume magazine.

Together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions, and impromptu tutorials.  Across our journey The Unknown Fields Division will identify opportunities for tactical intervention and speculative invention that will be chronicled in an annual publication and travelling exhibition. It is a unique opportunity to be a part of an extraordinary research project that will examine the Unknown Fields between cultivation and nature and spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.

Enlist now before all the postiions are filled! Email l.young (at) tomorrowsthoughtstoday.com with any questions.

Eligibility

The workshop is open to anyone from anywhere. No pre requisites are necessary.

Applications

The deadline for applications is 01 June 2011. Application forms and additional information are available online here and more information can be found at:www.unknownfieldsdivision.com.   All participants are responsible for securing any visas required for entry to Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan and are advised to contact their home embassy early. After payment of fees, the AA School can provide a letter confirming participation in the workshop. Applicants are advised to contact the AA as soon as possible in order to apply and confirm a place, as space is limited. Places can only be reserved upon receipt of a completed application form and full fees, sent to Sandra Sanna, Administrative Coordinator of the AA Visiting School at visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk

Schedule & Venue

The school runs from 11 to 22 July and will begin at our London rally point before travelling by land, sea and air on a landscape cross section from the Chernobyl Exclusion zone in the Ukraine to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazaksthan. This is an immersive, travelling studio with a fixed itinerary requiring full-time participation. Workshops will be conducted en route at a series of unique venues conducted by an ensemble of collaborators who will be joining us on the expedition.

Accommodation & Costs

The AA Visiting School requires a fee of £650 per participant which includes a £50 Visiting Student Membership, made payable to the AA School of Architecture. As a unique travelling studio Unknown Fields has packaged all costs of our extensive travel itinerary including all flights from and returning to London, internal travel from Chernobyl to Baikonur, all accommodation, entrance fees, permits and workshops into one additional fee of £900. Participants need to bring their own laptops, camera equipment and working materials. Please ensure that all equipment you are bringing is covered by insurance. The AA School takes no responsibility for items lost or stolen whilst travelling to/from or attending the workshop.

More Information

Programme Directors: Liam Young and Kate Davies
Academic Coordinator AA Global School: Christopher Pierce:
Global and Visiting School Coordinator: Sandra Sanna

T          +44 20 7887 4014

E          visitingschool@aaschool.ac.uk

[image credit Baikonour- NASA/Bill Ingalls, Chernobyl- source unknown, Azerbaijan- Crude Awakening]

visiting school


Liam Young, 29 06 10


From the 9-17 July Liam Young will be coordinating a design studio for the Architectural Association visiting summer school in Madrid with Ricardo de Ostos principal of Naja & de Ostos and Tobias Klien of Horhizon. Shadowy forces have conspired to put together this axis of evil teaching lineup drawn from the most twisted and kinky studios the AA has to offer.  It will be a rock n roll 10 day intensive design studio including lectures, workshops and prototyping. Places are still available and you can sign up here.

The studio theme will be ‘Bleaching Green’ which will explore the relation between architecture and energy use in dense cities in the near future. The Bleaching Green workshop will venture into uncharted territories blending design intuition and technological invention. By casting a critical eye on current sustainability and environmental strategies, the course objective is to investigate architecture as a hybrid of artificial and natural systems.