film


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.

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film


Liam Young, 15 10 15


Directed by speculative architect Liam Young and written by fiction author Tim Maughan and designed ‘Where the City Can’t See’ is the world’s first fiction film made entirely from data. Produced in association with AND Festival the film is currently being shot and will première in summer 2016.

The computer vision systems of goggle maps, urban management systems and CCTV surveillance are now fundamentally reshaping urban experience and the cultures of our city. Set in the Chinese owned and controlled Detroit Economic Zone (DEZ) and shot using laser scanners, we see this near future city through the eyes of the robots that manage it. Exploring the subcultures that emerge from these new technologies the film follows a collection of young factory workers across a single night, as they drift through the smart city point clouds in a driverless taxi, searching for a place they know exists but that the map doesn’t show. They are part of an underground community that work on the production lines by day but at night, adorn themselves in machine vision camouflage costumes and the tribal masks of anti-facial recognition to enact their escapist fantasies in the hidden spaces of the city. They hack the city and journey through a network of stealth buildings, ruinous landscapes, ghost architectures, anomalies, glitches and sprites, searching for the wilds beyond the machine. We have always found the eccentric and imaginary in the spaces the city can’t see.

The Atlantic have recently written a review of the LIDAR scanner camouflage costume and algoritmic textile patterns we developed on computerised silk looms in the United Kingdom. Photography by Liam Young and Lucy Barker.

Director: Liam Young Writer: Tim Maughan Assistant Director: Jennifer Chen Director of Photography: Specular Stylist: Elizabeth Black and Susan Marsh (Under The Influence) Makeup: Philippe Miletto and consultant Adam Harvey Hair: Kaizo Dancers: Thomasin Gulgec, Sabrina Gargano, Laura Wood, Eryck Brahmania Technical Leads: Daniele Profeta, Tobias Jewson

film


Liam Young, 29 04 15


Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young and long time collaborator Kate Davies run the Unknown Fields Division. Unknown Fields have launched a new project called Rare Earthenware, developed for the ‘What is Luxury’exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

While journeys to extraordinary places are the cornerstone of luxury travel, this project follows more well-concealed journeys taking place across global supply chains. It retraces rare earth elements, which are widely used in high-end electronics and green technologies, to their origins. A film of the project, developed in collaboration with photographer Toby Smith is composed as a single panning shot along a planetary scaled conveyor belt, documents their voyage in reverse from container ships and ports, wholesalers and factories, back to the banks of a barely-liquid radioactive lake in Inner Mongolia, pumped with tailings from the refining process. To accompany the film, Unknown Fields Division have used mud from this lake to craft a set of three ceramic vessels. Each is proportioned as a traditional Ming vase and is made from the amount of toxic waste created in the production of three items of technology – a smartphone, a featherweight laptop and the cell of a smart car battery.

You can watch the full ‘Rare Earthenware’ film exclusively on our project page at the Guardian

The finished vases are made from the exact amount of toxic waste produced in the manufacture of 3 objects of technology- the smartphone, the laptop and the electric car battery cell. Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields

Unknown Fields collecting radioactive tailings material from besides the worlds Largest Rare Earth minerals refinery in Inner Mongolia. Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields

Radiation scientists test the toxic clay collected from the tailings lake and find it to be 3 times background radiation. Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields

The amount of toxic clay produced in the manufacture of a single smart phone is moulded into a traditional Ming vase form. Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields

A Chinese factory worker assembles the components of our tech gadgets along a conveyor belt that stretches from Inner Mongolia to a London retail store. Film Still © Toby Smith/Unknown Fields

Rare Earthenware by Unknown Fields. Film and Photography in collaboration with Toby Smith, Ceramics assistance from Kevin Kevin Callaghan, Animation assistance from Christina Varvia

film


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…)

film


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…)

film


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…)

film


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.