interview


Liam Young, 18 02 15



This new publication by Sonic Acts is inspired by geosciences and zooms in on planet Earth. Fundamental to The Geologic Imagination is the idea that we live in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. For the publication author Tim Maughan interviews Liam Young and Kate Davies on board a container ship travelling through the South China Seas during the Unknown Fields Expedition. You can order the book here.

Human activity has irreversibly changed the composition of the atmosphere, the oceans, and even the Earth’s crust. Humanity has become a geological force. Consequently, the perspective has shifted from humans at the centre of the world to the forces that act on timescales beyond the conceivable. These ideas challenge us to rethink our attachments to the world, and our concepts of nature, culture and ecology. With this book Sonic Acts examines how art and science map and document new insights, and how the changes and transformations that occur on a geological scale can become something humans can feel, touch, and experience.

The Geologic Imagination features new essays by Timothy Morton, Douglas Kahn, Paul Bogard, Michael Welland, and Raviv Ganchrow; there are interviews with Dipesh Chakrabarty, Matthew Coolidge, Liam Young, Noortje Marres, Kodwo Eshun, Kurt Hentschläger, and Mario de Vega; and visual contributions by Femke Herregraven,Mirna Belina, Ellsworth & Kruse, the Center of Land Use Interpretation, Marijn de Jong, and BJ Nilsen & Karl Lemieux.

You can read a few fragments from Tim Maughan that didn’t make it into the final piece-

Liam: Because like I was saying, it is quite extraordinary, like I was talking about the technological sublime. We see it in all these places we go to, we stand at the world’s largest gold mine, it’s a hole in the ground the size of the Grand Canyon, so big it generates its own weather system and planes have to divert around it otherwise they’re sucked into the wind vortex that it creates. We’ve done this…we’ve built the machines that have dug this fucking hole. People travel from all over the world to go and see the Grand Canyon, to go to this fucking hole in the ground. It’s the same kind of thing, it’s actually more impressive because that took millions of years of wind and rain and erosion to create it and we did this in 15 years ‑ that’s pretty amazing. So we used to paint the sublime which was about the fear and order of nature, and now we have the technological sublime where we approach the same kind of landscapes, we have the same kind of feelings about technological and industrial landscapes that we once did looking across the savanna, or looking across the grand canyon, or standing on a peak and seeing the amazon jungle unfolding in front of us. We stand underneath of a crane in a mega-port and we have that same sense of awe and wonder.

Tim: I was standing on the bridge, and the lights on one of them suddenly fired up and it slowly passed over me…a dozen little suns beaming on me, bringing daylight to the night.

Liam: And you get fucking goose bumps, you know what I mean? Like the artificial night when you see a factory on the horizon…it creates this strange kind of synthetic aurora and it’s desolate ‑ it’s utterly seductive. That’s our era’s great art…people used to do the Nazca Lines and we go to the oil pipelines.

Tim: That’s funny you say that because I went to Machu Picchu back in April, and it was fantastic. And then a few weeks later I went to Detroit. And that was fantastic too. And they both seemed strangely similar to me. And I couldn’t quite decide which impressed me more.

Liam: [laughs]

Tim: And they’re two of the same things, right?

Liam: Yeah. Two ruins of a civilisation.

interview


Liam Young, 17 04 13


For VOLUME issue 35 Everything Under Control: Building with Biology scientist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford sat down with speculative architect LiamYoung in the basement recording studio of the journal Nature to discuss the mythical beasts of synthetic biology. Rutherford recently worked with the BBC on a series called ‘The Gene Code’ which explored the consequences of decoding the human genome. Recognizing the potential externalities of communicating science poorly, Rutherford works at conveying the misunderstood field of synthetic biology to a broader audience. Download the pdf here or read the pages below.  (more…)

interview


Liam Young, 17 03 13


Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young has been interviewed by We Made Money Not Art’s Regine Debatty for her ‘Artists in Laboratories’ radio programme on ResonanceFM. Each week Regine is in conversation with an artist, a hacker, a designer or a scientist discussing new art practices made possible by advances in science and technologies. Liam discusses his fictional city project Under Tomorrows Sky, the extreme landscapes of Unknown Field’s research expeditions and his upcoming Future Perfect exhibition at the Lisbon Architecture Trienal. You can listen to the interview here on sound cloud.

Liam has also been interviewed in Vienna by SpaceCuriosities’ Sandra Häuplik-Meusburger and Verena Holzgethan for Orange FM and the Cultural Broadcasting Archive. They discuss the value of the speculative project and the necessity for new forms of architectural culture to engage with the complexity of an anthropocentric world. Listen to the podcast here.