Liam Young, 17 05 19

Liam Young launches a new book titled Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene, which catalogues the spaces being built for non human inhabitants.

The most significant architectural spaces in the world are now entirely empty of people. The data centres, telecommunications networks, distribution warehouses, unmanned ports and industrialised agriculture that define the very nature of who we are today are at the same time places we can never visit. Instead they are occupied by server stacks and hard drives, logistics bots and mobile shelving units, autonomous cranes and container ships, robot vacuum cleaners and internet-connected toasters, driverless tractors and taxis. This issue is an atlas of sites, architectures and infrastructures that are not built for us, but whose form, materiality and purpose is configured to anticipate the patterns of machine vision and habitation rather than our own. We are said to be living in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, in which humans are the dominant force shaping the planet. This collection of spaces, however, more accurately constitutes an era of the Post-Anthropocene, a period where it is technology and artificial intelligence that now computes, conditions and constructs our world. Marking the end of human-centred design, the issue turns its attention to the new typologies of the post-human, architecture without people and our endless expanse of Machine Landscapes.

Edited By Liam Young

Contributors: Rem Koolhaas, Merve Bedir and Jason Hilgefort, Benjamin H Bratton, Ingrid Burrington, Ian Cheng, Hyphen Labs, Cathryn Dwyre, Chris Perry, David Salomon and Kathy Velikov, Deborah Harrison, Paul Inglis, Victor Martinez, John Gerrard, Alice Gorman, Adam Harvey, Jesse LeCavalier, Xingzhe Liu, Clare Lyster, Geoff Manaugh, Tim Maughan, Simone C Niquille, Jenny Odell, Trevor Paglen, Ben Roberts.


Liam Young, 27 09 16

Directed by speculative architect Liam Young and written by fiction author Tim Maughan, In the Robot Skies is the world’s first narrative shot entirely through autonomous pre programmed drones. In collaboration with the Embedded and Artificially intelligent Vision Lab in Belgium the film is captured by a specially developed flock of camera drones each with their own set of cinematic rules and behaviours.

The film explores the drone as a cultural object, not just as a new instrument of visual story telling but also as the catalyst for a new collection of urban sub cultures. In the way the New York subway car of the 80’s gave birth to a youth culture of wild style graffiti and hip hop the age of ubiquitous drones as smart city infrastructure will create a new network of surveillance activists and drone hackers. From the eyes of the drones we see two teenagers each held by police order within the digital confines of their own council estate tower block in London. A network of drones survey the council estates, as a roving flock off cctv cameras and our two characters are kept apart by this autonomous aerial infrastructure. We watch as they pass notes to each other via their own hacked and decorated drone, like kids in an old fashioned classroom, scribbling messages with biro on paper, balling it up and stowing it in their drones.. In this near future city drones form both agents of state surveillance but also become co-opted as the aerial vehicles through which two teens fall in love.



Liam Young, 02 12 14

Loop 6o hz Making of Documentry

A flock of autonomous DJI copters are programmed as aerial dancers and are mounted with specially engineered wireless speakers to broadcast the instruments of the band. Other copters are dressed in elaborate costumes to disguise their form and reflect light across the audience below. Against a score of original compositions and selected tracks from Cale’s seminal career this collaboration with Young imagines the possibilities of the drones as emerging cultural objects. If these technologies are no longer unseen objects overhead, or propelled along classified flight paths but brought into close and intimate relations with us then how might we see them differently. When their transmission fades, when the drones lose their signal and without their protocols for terror and surveillance, do they drop from the sky, do they fall in love or do the drones drift endlessly, forever on loop.

Watch the Bevis Bowden’s film cataloguing the Barbican performance on the 12 & 13 September 2014 and the making of documentary produced by The Creators Project that chronicles the teams development of  a new ultrasonic tracking system that supported autonomous drone flight and programmed choreographies and the design of drone couture costumes.


Interactive Digital Environment

To support the live performance and allow remote experiences of the drone orchestra project, Liam Young and John Cale also joined forces with digital artists FIELD to develop an accompanying online interactive environment- City of Drones. Charting the story of a lost drone drifting through an abstract vertical cityscape, players are invited to pilot a virtual craft and remotely explore this imaginary world. The machine vision of the drone reduces the city to pure geometry as flightpath algorithms plot courses along the narrow streets. Samples from Cale’s original soundscape compositions, developed for the live performance, echo across the landscape and we see the city through the eyes of the drone, buzzing between the buildings, drifting endlessly, in an ambient audio visual choreography.



Liam Young, 06 02 12

In the skies above the city a drone flock drifts into formation broadcasting their local file sharing network. Part nomadic infrastructure and part robotic swarm they form a pirate internet, an aerial napster, darting between the buildings….



Liam Young, 06 11 11

Tomorrows Thoughts Today will be premiering their new interactive installation Electronic Countermeasures live at the GLOW Festival Eindhoven NL every night 5th – 11th November. The performance schedule is 1800, 1830, 1900, 1930, 2000, 2030, 2100, 2130, 2200, 2230, 2300, 2330. See the map for where you can find us. The project is an aerial drone choreography developed in collaboration with Superflux and Eleanor Saitta and performed by drone pilots Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and Eleanor Saitta.

Today we are much closer to our virtual community than we are to our real neighbours. This death of distance has created new forms of city based around ephemeral digital connections rather than physical geography. In this context the Electronic Countermeasures explores the design and manufacture of a flock of interactive autonomous drones that form their own place specific, local, wfi community and pirate file sharing network. Drifting slowly above the water of Eindhoven’s parks the fleet of modified quadrocopters perform a balletic aerial choreography as their soft glow reflects in the canal below.

The drones continue their luminous dance and dynamic glowing formations as they wait for a passer-by to interact with them. It drone can be contacted by calling the following numbers
drone 0 +31 648521583
drone 1 +31 648521578
drone 2 +31 648521581
drone 3 +31 648521591
As we signal the drones they break formation and are called over. Their bodies illuminate, they flicker and glow to indicate their activity. The swarm becomes a pirate broadcast network, a mobile infrastructure that passers-by can interact with. Impromptu augmented communities form around the glowing flock. As more people interact with the drones the more excited the flock becomes. They swoop dramatically across the surface of the water and they hover above the heads of all those with their mobile screens still activated. It is almost as if these glowing blimps are alive as they become mobile infrastructures with endearing behaviours. They are part city infrastructure and part technological creatures living amongst the trees.

The project is developed by Tomorrows Thoughts Today with Superflux and Eleanor Saitta
Production Team- Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and Denis Vlieghe
Performed by Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu and Eleanor Saitta.

Photos by Claus Langer.