fiction


Liam Young, 14 10 14


New City is a series of animated skylines of the near future developed by Tomorrow’s Thought Today’s Liam Young. In intricate 5k detail they depict a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated version of the present, in which we can project new cultural trends, environmental, political and economic forces. Photographs taken on expeditions around the world with nomadic studio Unknown Fields, to document these emerging phenomena and weak signals have been meticulously stitched together and extrapolated to form each city skyline. In this way ‘New City’ slips between the real and the imagined, between the documentary and the visionary, where speculative fictions become a way of exploring a world that the everyday struggles to grasp. To accompany the animations the authors Jeff Noon, Pat Cadigan and Tim Maughan have been invited to write a story for each skyline, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through a suggestive narrative fragment. Original New City soundscapes have been developed by Coldcut. The animations have been commissioned by Z33 and are screening as part of ‘Future Fictions’.

This skyline is narrated by Tim Maughan and is titled “Keeping Up Appearances”. Read the short story below.  (more…)

fiction


Liam Young, 14 10 14


New City is a series of animated skylines of the near future developed by Tomorrow’s Thought Today’s Liam Young. In intricate 5k detail they depict a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated version of the present, in which we can project new cultural trends, environmental, political and economic forces. Photographs taken on expeditions around the world with nomadic studio Unknown Fields, to document these emerging phenomena and weak signals have been meticulously stitched together and extrapolated to form each city skyline. In this way ‘New City’ slips between the real and the imagined, between the documentary and the visionary, where speculative fictions become a way of exploring a world that the everyday struggles to grasp. To accompany the animations the authors Jeff Noon, Pat Cadigan and Tim Maughan have been invited to write a story for each skyline, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through a suggestive narrative fragment. Original New City soundscapes have been developed by Coldcut. The animations have been commissioned by Z33 and are screening as part of ‘Future Fictions’.

This skyline is narrated by Pat Cadigan and is titled The City in the Sea. Read the short story below.  (more…)

fiction


Liam Young, 14 10 14


New City is a series of animated skylines of the near future developed by Tomorrow’s Thought Today’s Liam Young. In intricate 5k detail they depict a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated version of the present, in which we can project new cultural trends, environmental, political and economic forces. Photographs taken on expeditions around the world with nomadic studio Unknown Fields, to document these emerging phenomena and weak signals have been meticulously stitched together and extrapolated to form each city skyline. In this way ‘New City’ slips between the real and the imagined, between the documentary and the visionary, where speculative fictions become a way of exploring a world that the everyday struggles to grasp. To accompany the animations the authors Jeff Noon, Pat Cadigan and Tim Maughan have been invited to write a story for each skyline, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through a suggestive narrative fragment. Original New City soundscapes have been developed by Coldcut. The animations have been commissioned by Z33 and are screening as part of ‘Future Fictions’.

This skyline is narrated by Jeff Noon and is titled Edgeland: The Symbiant. Read the short story below.  (more…)

fiction


Liam Young, 29 05 14


Available to download now- 1,49€ (iTunes), 1,78€ (Amazon)*

Brave New Now is a collection of specially commissioned short stories set in a fictional future city developed by speculative architect Liam Young for the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale. Authors have been invited to inhabit the city, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through narrative. It is a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated present, in which we can imagine the wonders and possibilities of emerging biological and technological research. Authors include Warren Ellis, Bruce Sterling, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Rachel Armstrong, Samit Basu and Anil Menon.  These speculative fictions are illustrated with a collection of photographs of the present, gathered from a group of photographers who venture out into the world documenting the weak signals and emerging phenomena that have been extrapolated into our imaginary city. In Brave New Now it is not clear what is fact and what is fiction, but rather the two productively intertwine.  The two modes of working sit side by side and we slip suggestively between the real and the imagined, between the documentary and the visionary, where speculative fictions become a way of exploring a world that the everyday struggles to grasp.

The future is not something that washes over us like water, it is something we must actively shape and define. Some of the people we meet in the Brave New Now are swept up in what the city could be, others are reserved and look on with caution. It is a place of wonder and of fear. We meet friends and strangers, we hear their stories, and we imagine our own life here. We have not walked these streets before, what things may come, in the Brave New Now.

Preview of ebook foreword

Brave New Now
Editor: Liam Young
Authors: Warren Ellis, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Bruce Sterling, Rachel Armstrong, Samit Basu, Anil Menon.
Photographers: Michael Wolf, Greg Girard, Neil Chowdhury, Vincent Fournier, Thomas Weinberger, Charlie Koolhaas, Greg White, Daniel Beltrá, Victoria Sambunaris, Christina Seely, Brice Richard, Bas Princen.
Concept Art: Daniel Dociu, Hoving Alahaidoyan.

“A projective fiction is a critical tool that is both an extraordinary vision of tomorrow and a provocative examination of the pertinent questions facing us today.” Liam Young

This digital publication was commissioned by Close, Closer chief curator Beatrice Galilee, Art Direction by Zak Group and graphic design by Raquel Pinto.
*The support of The British Council has enabled a discounted distribution price of Brave New Now ebook.

fiction


Liam Young, 10 03 14


Future Perfect is a fictional, future city. A think tank of scientists, technologists, designers, artists and science fiction authors have collectively developed this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains.  The following series of posts presents the Future Perfect exhibition- a stage set for a collection of fictions, movie set models, emerging infrastructures and design experiments that can be inhabited as immersive districts of the future city.  This post presents the Future Perfect Lookout, that spot up high in the city, where we lie on the hood of a car and from a clearing in the mist we scan across the city in luminous detail. The Lookout takes the form of a short film, Chupan Chapai, based on a story by Tim Maly, directed by Factory Fifteen and produced by Liam Young.

A film is projected from the lookout that follows a group of children as they play a game of “hide and seek” in Future Perfect. Shot on location in across India, we see through their eyes a near future heavily influenced by the imminent boom of the Indian subcontinent, an emerging technology and economic superpower. The control systems that now run traffic systems, power grids and financial networks sit in the shadows, out of sight but silently organising our lives. Deep in the substrate of Future Perfect is a supercomputer that regulates the city and everyone within it. Reminiscent of an exaggerated silent film, everyone interacts with their digital city through intricate signs and gesture control. As the children play they learn to hack the augmented streets evading their friends but getting lost in the hidden spaces they have unlocked. They must escape from a sentient city that no longer recognises them.

 

fiction


Liam Young, 10 03 14


Future Perfect is a fictional, future city. A think tank of scientists, technologists, designers, artists and science fiction authors have collectively developed this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains.  The following series of posts presents the Future Perfect exhibition- a stage set for a collection of fictions, movie set models, emerging infrastructures and design experiments that can be inhabited as immersive districts of the future city.  This post presents the Future Perfect movie miniature stage set model. Working with special effects artists from such films as Alien, Sunshine and Blade Runner and borrowing from the disappearing techniques of physical film prop making Liam Young and his team have built a room sized movie miniature model of the city. Across the course of the project authors have inhabited the scale city as a stage set and developed a collection of characters, narratives, films and illustrations.

Emerging in the shadows of the decaying towers of a post oil Dubai, geo engineered by climatologists and influenced by the imminent economic boom of the Indian subcontinent it is a terraformed urban island. A city that is grown rather than built, a creature, living, breathing and computing, a seething ecology that has become a new metropolitan megaform. Bots drift across this inhabited geology, a dense accumulation of crevice rooms, and public valleys, slowly printing and reprinting, endlessly as demand requires.

Through the strata is threaded the tendrils of a complex circulatory system that feeds the moist surfaces of a vibrant endemic ecology where nature and technology intertwine and biology becomes a new economy. Supercomputers whistle and whir, a virtual city, a parallel city overlaid directly onto the physical turns everything into interface, everything into program. It is an imaginary landscape extrapolated from the wonders and possibilities of emerging biological and technological research. The city watches on, breathing, blinking.

Working with craftsman Gary Welch, who has previously done the lighting on Tim Burton’s stop motion animation models,  the miniature city has been wired with 1000 miniature bulbs that run on a 12 minute accelerated day and night cycle.

Like a real city, the model has been expanding and developing since it was first exhibited in Eindhoven in 2012. A series of city building workshops has grown the city, developed new areas and torn down others.

to see more photos keep reading

(more…)

fiction


Liam Young, 06 10 12


Under Tomorrows Sky is a fictional, future city. For MU Foundation in Eindhoven Speculative architect Liam Young of the London based Tomorrows Thoughts Today has assembled a think tank of scientists, technologists, futurists, illustrators and science fiction authors to collectively develop this imaginary place, the landscapes that surround it and the stories it contains. Working with special effects artists from such films as Alien, Sunshine and Blade Runner, the architects of Tomorrows Thoughts Today have built a room sized movie miniature model of the city.  Across the course of the exhibition invited guests will work with the city as a stage set to develop a collection of narratives, films and illustrations. Wander through this near future world and explore the possibilities and consequences of today’s emerging biological and technological research. The team includes Bruce Sterling, Warren Ellis, Rachel Armstrong, Daniel Dociu, Paul Duffield, Factory Fifteen, ARC magazine, Centre For Science and Imagination and many more. Follow the project website to see all the concept art imagery, the think tank discussions and photos of the exhibition.

Under Tomorrows Sky concept image by Factory Fifteen

fiction


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

fiction


Liam Young, 09 05 11


From the Data Archaeology Lab in the Architectural Association’s Unknown Fields Division 09/10 Arctic Circle studio run by TTT’s Liam Young and Kate Davies comes Data Fossils by Tobias Jewson. Tobias, with Ioana Iliesu have explored what happens to our collective history when everything is digital. In the digital era our information no longer takes the form of the physical, but that of a electronic file stored in ‘the cloud’. Our collective history is quickly effaced from this fragile and ephemeral domain, a computer crashes, formats are quickly obsolete, a hard drive is lost and all is gone. With our attachment to physical objects and mementos becoming increasingly superseded by our relationship to information, what will we leave for future generations?

The project employs design speculation as a critical tool to explore the potential ways in which architecture and landscape may respond to our ever evolving digital fascination. ‘Data Fossils’ has evolved as a series of fictional scenarios grounded in technically rigorous physical and computational investigations. Real techniques have been developed for encoding digital information in the physical world at both individual and collective scales.

Advances in biocomputing are allowing the possibility of storing data in living, physical forms. As the division between our bodies and the digital becomes increasingly blurred, the bone’s ability to remodel itself, in response to stress, can be hacked to provide data storage. Polyps of calcified binary code become written onto our skeleton, recounting our digital identities.

A teenage informational glutton comes for a surgery consult, his skin stretched with the growths of excessive music and porn downloads. His hoarded browser bookmarks cripple his every movement.

A poet’s finest sonnet is read like Braille through his skin, prostitutes steal the secrets of their bussness clients through gentle carresses of their naked body.

The treasured remains of a loved one becomes an archaeology of memories.


An illegal immigrant hacks and grafts fragments of data bone into his own body in an attempt to conceal his true identity. His airport xray scan reveals the extensive titanium grafts typical of data identity theft.

fiction


Liam Young, 09 05 11


From the Data Archaeology Lab in the Architectural Association’s Unknown Fields Division 09/10 Arctic Circle studio run by TTT’s Liam Young and Kate Davies comes Data Fossils by Tobias Jewson. Tobias has evolved his data fossils experiments from the intimate and personal attachments that calcify on our own bones into a vast digital geology of an internet archive cast into layers of volcanic glass across Iceland’s deserts. In the digital era our information no longer takes the form of the physical, but that of a electronic file stored in ‘the cloud’. Our collective history is quickly effaced from this fragile and ephemeral domain, a computer crashes, formats are quickly obsolete, a hard drive is lost and all is gone. With our attachment to physical objects and mementos becoming increasingly superseded by our relationship to information, what will we leave for future generations?

Our collective history can be deposited in columns and strata of earth – where once archivists trawled the library stacks, data geologists now roam the Icelandic landscape. Like climate records trapped in ice cores data archiving can also become a geological process. In southern Iceland the division found a ravaged landscape of eroding lava deserts- a desolate crust hiding beneath it extraordinary geothermal resources that now support huge investments in an emerging national industry of data storage and server farms. Data Geologies rehabilitate this damaged landscape by co opting these investments in technology and reimaging the Icelandic typology of data archives.

A suite of new software applications that subvert existing digital prototyping machines to encode the ephemera of the digital world into ever evolving architectural landscapes. Hoards of machines traverse the lava deserts, scraping loose sand from the surface, and under immense heat transforming it into elaborate glass like geometries, within which our recent internet activities are encased. Programs are developed to encode data inputs into structural building elements.

Simulation software is developed for the realtime growth of data geology from live twitter streams.

Informational topographies grow based and cluster on keyword inputs. The drugs keyword feed is especially active from late evening to early morning.

Topsoil blown by the harsh arctic winds soon gathers in the lee side of these immense structures, the grounded geological layer sprouting grass and moss. Over time, habitats will grow in the glimmering hollows as fields of data slowly reverse Icelandic soil erosion. Local Islanders read the growth of this landscape from afar, whilst archaeologists look close ,using advanced MRI scanners, searching for insights into our past. Information enthusiasts scan google earth sattelite images, deciphering geographies of data from across the globe.

People pilgrimage to this area known to hold the last data relating to flurry of internet activity from the day Michael Jackson died. It becomes an informational cathedral, a spatial obituary grown from a real time data feed.

And while tourists might flock to see history in the making archaeologists will read the dull fragments of frozen silica as records of our digital pasts.

fiction


Liam Young, 24 11 10


“Most technological breathroughs are met both with frenetic predictions of life-changing improvement, and fear and naysaying. Instead Geoff Manaugh, Tim Maly and Liam Young examine the myriad implications of future technological escalation by speculating about their consequences through believable (though fictional) examples ranging from chemical-sensitive fowl to transhuman support groups made possible by nanoengineering.” Volume. pg72. Issue 24 counter Cultures

This is one fragment from the work. See Volume no. 24 Counter Cultures for more from the Strange Natures of Nanotechnology.

A field guide to toxicity machines.
From The Macmillan Birder’s Guide to Britain v8.03.3453

Green-throated Coal-gull
Highlight: Sensitive to high levels of CO2 in the air.

Description: When in the presence of high levels of carbon dioxide, their plumage phase shifts to an extraordinary emerald color. Coal-gulls can be found in gathering around the remaining coal-burning power stations and carbon sequestration centers. Take a fire extinguisher with you to draw them out of the trees. Note that caution is necessary when calling and tracking these birds, as evidenced by the ongoing litigation against a BBC documentary team for frivolous chemical spraying.

Roseshift Starling
Highlight: Engineered to monitor atmospheric levels of nitrous oxide.

Description: Typically brown and forgettable at ground level, in the presence of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide the Roseshift Starling displays a fanned tail of extraordinary incandescent plumage that reflects in the sunlight. These rare species are best spotted in gas cloud flocks at high altitudes or over recently fertilized farmland. If you do encounter one on the ground, however, emptying a nitrous canister nearby will initiate its vivid display. These can be acquired from custom car garages or contact us for our private list of birding dentists.
NB. The guide does not encourage nitrous use for anything other than bird watching. We do not support the ‘laughing birders’ organization.

Bomb Sparrow
Highlight: designed for explosives detection

Description: Originally developed to signal the location of explosives labs, Bomb Sparrows flock in elaborate formations marking the atmospheric presence of chemically dangerous concoctions. Typically very difficult to track down, their formations are dispersed very quickly by British intelligence; making clear sightings quite rare. Your best chances are in the outer suburbs or anonymous tower blocks. If you are lucky enough to see an actual detonation, Bomb Sparrow flocks are extraordinary. But be careful: mixing your own chemical lures may result in prosecution under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Trumpeter Finch
Highlight: Sings in the presence of concentrations of carbon monoxide.

Description: This species typically makes its nest along busy highways and main streets. Listen out for the high-pitched song of the Trumpeter Finch when airborne particulate levels reach toxicity thresholds. Go in an SUV convoy for the best chance—and pack a gas mask to hear their song up close.