Liam Young, 17 08 11

Tomorrows Thoughts Today is part of the summer exhibition at MU Gallery in Eindhoven NL titled ‘The Great Babylon Circus’ and curated by the Berlin based critic and curator Lukas Feireiss, author of the book ‘Utopia Forever’ also featuring a number of TTT projects.  The exhibition brings together a group of artists and architects to engage in “the continuation of the never-ending design of the Tower of Babel. The Tower of Babel is one of the primordial metaphors of architecture, art and construction, as well as of the multiplication and confrontation of diverse languages and styles. The tower also symbolizes the ultimate hubris of human creation — the ambition to build something larger than life itself.”

In addition to Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, participating artists are Brazilian social and cultural collective Project Morrinho, Belgium-German art collective Speedism and Moroccan artist Mounir Fatmi. The collaboration of these four global creative practices in the arena of MU unite around the mythic Tower of Babel theme, presenting us with new angles from which to view this legendary subject, and arguing for its social, political, and cultural relevance in today’s world.

Tomorrows Thoughts today (in collaboration with Denis Vlieghe and Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu) have installed an expansive living landscape of moss and robotics. Set within the vegation is a array and strange and curious creatures of the near future. Born of the city’s electronic surplus yet now essential to the city’s function, these species of beings have emerged who warm, warn, entertain, annoy, and play. They have arrived unannounced, emerged from the remains of rampant and uncontrolled modernisation, and have been subsumed into the normal workings of the city. In fact, the city itself has become a singular sentient being constructed of these malformed and (d)evolved freaks — the city’s new infrastructure.

Corporate research and development divisions scrutinize the beings, playing technological catch up with this autonomous evolution, the invisible hand of progress. Field researchers now observe the specimens captured in a controled environment. Gazing over this curated landscape, a robot zoo, the researchers’ working hypothesis is that the distinction between the products and byproducts of modernity have disappeared, and it is this disappearance that defines our new urban territories. In addition to the familiar favourites from our Specimens of Unnatural History project, collected within the zoo are such new specimens as:

The Virtual Forest
Observation notes: A landscape of artificial trees flicker with a distant wind. The augmented forest is wirelessly connected to a wind sensor in the Aokigahara forest at the foot of Mt Fuji. Thought to be haunted the remote presence of the winds rustling through the trees in Japan now illuminates a virtual ghost wilderness. Two simultaneous landscapes connected across the globe.

Networked Rodents
Observation notes: Existing animals are hacked to create a roving sensor network across the landscape. Like the old canaries in the coal mine birds sense and detect levels of toxicity in the air, grey squirrels track their own pest populations to extermination, moths and butterflies become a micro spy infrastructure and others monitor and scan for subtle ecological shifts.

Goldfish Avatar
Observation notes: Sensors track a lonely goldfish swimming in a tank. It becomes the live input for an emerging digital simulation. The fish’s movements are translated into an endlessly evolving online avatar that continues long after it is flushed away. Across time a virtual ecosystem takes shape on the web. Soon the internet becomes more of a wilderness than the disappearing landscapes of the physical world, a strange zoo of virtual ghosts.

The Digital shadow
Observation notes: Feeding off ambient electro magnetic fields of the cities neon lights and communications networks these floating antenna harvest the airborne energy to power a broadcast of white noise. Clouds of these blimps cast an electronic shadow across parts of the city. Initially an experiment in energy harvesting this infrastructure is now just gets up to general mischief but unexpectedly it also has creates some of the only disconnected analogue spaces in the city, where one can steal a brief moment of digital silence.

Monitor drone
Observation notes: Relentless and obsessive the tracking eye of the monitor drones scan ambient conditions and is sensitive to minute fluctuations in vast arrays of environmental data. Flocks laser scan the landscape recording animal numbers and vegetation patterns as point clouds of digital data. Wilderness sites become large curated landscapes constantly managed and engineered to create a perfect simulation of nature in balance.

Photograpghs by MU and Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu