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

Fee includes

- 18 days travelling and working alongside specialists from the fields of architecture, art, technology and film. Collaborating on the production of a publication and film.

- Meetings and discussions with experts on the ground and in the field.

- A schedule of visits to natural, technological and industrial sites, including- The Salar de Uyuni salt flat, Lithium extraction fields, Large scale open pit mining operation, Atacama Desert, High altitude astronomical observatory, Geothermal landscapes, Communities in the Bolivian Amazon Rainforest

- Domestic flights within Chile and Bolivia

- All on the ground transportation [bus, 4WD, river canoe]

- All accommodation

- All entrance fees, camping fees and National Park fees etc.

- Comprehensive travel insurance – medical and personal belongings

To apply and for further details see our Unknow Fields website

Unknown Fields is a part of the Architectural Associations Visiting School Program and participants will recieve membership to the Association as well as AA accreditation for participating in the workshop