Liam Young, 19 01 12

Liam Young and Kate Davies, leaders of the Architectural Association’s award winning Unknown Fields Division, have announced a recruitment drive for their next public nomadic studio which will run from 20 Aug – 01 Sep 2012. You have until July to SIGN UP! Last year the division travelled 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. This year go in search of Alien Encounters on a roadtrip from Mexican Border towns and the Roswell UFO crash site, through Area 51 to the Burning Man Festival.

Unknown Fields is a nomadic studio that throws open the doors of the AA and sets off on an annual expedition to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and 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. You will be both visionaries and reporters, part documentarian and part science-fiction soothsayers as the otherworldly sites we encounter will afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios.

This year the Division will be heading off on a reconnaissance road trip to chronicle a series of extraterrestrial encounters from the borderlands, black sites, military outposts and folkloric landscapes of the United States. From the ‘illegal aliens’ of the New Mexico border towns we will head north exploring territories of negotiation and conflict, zones of transgression, suspicion and speculation. We will rumble along the UFO highway, past the mythic territories of Area 51, listening to tall tales from conspiracy theorists amidst the sonic booms crackling in the quiet desert air.

We will visit covert military test sites and the alien technologies of the aeronautics industry as we shape our own experimental craft to launch in the skies above the psychedelic community of the Burning Man Festival, where our journey ends. By the bonfires we will examine the mysteries and conspiracies that surround what lies off the map, off-grid and below the radar as we propose new truths and expose alternative fictions.

Joining us on our travels will be a troupe of collaborators from the worlds of technology, science and fiction including Geoff Manaugh [BLDGBLOG], Nicola Twilley [Edible Geography], futurist Stuart Candy and UFOologist, folklorist and author Mark Pilkington. Together we will form a travelling circus of research visits, field reportage, rolling discussions and impromptu tutorials that will be chronicled in an annual publication and travelling exhibition. Throughout our journey the Division will identify opportunities for tactical intervention and speculative invention as we examine the unknown fields between truth and fiction.

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

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