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. 

Duri drops the Samsung Galaxy SX phone onto the kitchen table, hears it chime softly as it makes contact with the paper-thin Samsung Qi SmartPower charging mat.
-Honey, what’s that cardboard tube in the hallway?
Sang’s voice comes back from the lounge, muffled by the low hum of the Samsung AHT24WGMEA/XSG air conditioner.
-That’s the TV, come and see-
-What?
-It’s the packaging the new TV came in. I’ve just hung it. Come in here and see!
Duri pushes open the door to an explosion of pixels the width of the room; an ultra high def orgy of thrown paint and 4K rainbow ejaculate soiling pristine whitespace. White turns to black, paint to fireworks, stars flicker and become city lights, a forest of pastel shaded, corporate branded condo-blocks emerging from the night, as the final strains of the orchestral score fade into the air-con’s never ending drone.
Sang waits until the TV’s start-up and calibration routine has finished before turning to Duri, idiotic childish glee filling approval-seeking eyes.
-Nice, huh?
-Yeah. It’s great. But why does it say LG on it?
-Because… it’s made by LG?
-Move it. Now.
Sang looks confused, almost hurt.
-The TV?
-The packaging first. Get it out of the hallway. Bring it in here. Now.
-What? But they’re coming to get the recycling tonight-
-Exactly. Get it in here before anybody sees it.
Duri curses silently for trusting Sang with such an important consumer decision, anxiously glancing at the feed from the hallway’s Samsung SND-6011R dome camera via a Samsung SmartGear 7 Neo wristwatch.
-Christ, who knows who’s seen it already… I just hope nobody from the building standards committee is back from work yet…
-Baby…
-Don’t baby me. Are you trying to get us thrown out? Our lease is up for review in three months and you brought an LG TV into a Samsung housing block? What the hell will the neighbours say?

New City
Liam Young
Tomorrows Thoughts Today

Project Team
Alexey Marfin
Zhan Wang

Soundscapes by Coldcut with additional sound design by Aneek Thapar

Authors
Jeff Noon
Pat Cadigan
Tim Maughan

Curated by Karen Verschooren and produced for Z33, Future Fictions Exhibition