“Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City” at the Architectural Association

Unknown Fields is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on expeditions through the shadows cast by the contemporary city to trace the alternative worlds, alien landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wildernesses that its technology and culture set in motion.

 

Inflatable toy sellers in China Commodity City, Yiwu, China © Unknown Fields, AA

Inflatable toy sellers in China Commodity City, Yiwu, China © Unknown Fields, AA

 

These distributed landscapes, the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine, are embedded in global systems that connect them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives. Systems that form a network of vast but elusive tendrils, twisting threadlike over everything around us, crisscrossing the planet, connecting the mundane to the extraordinary.


 

Practical information

“Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City “
October 1 – December 16, 2016
Architectural Association  School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square, London
UK

 


In “The Dark Side of the City” Unknown Fields takes us on a road trip through a reimagined city that stretches across the ends of the earth. It is a portrait of a place that sits between documentary and fiction, a city of fragments; of drone footage and hidden camera investigations, of interviews and speculative narratives, of toxic objects, reimagined landscapes and distributed matter from distant sites.

 

Whirlpool Microwave factory production line, China © Unknown Fields, AA

Whirlpool Microwave factory production line, China © Unknown Fields, AA

Shenzhen electronics factory seen in a spread from Unknown FIeld © Unknown Fields, AA

Shenzhen electronics factory seen in a spread from Unknown FIeld © Unknown Fields, AA

 

“The Dark Side of the City” is a collection of stories from the constellation of elsewheres that are conjured into being by the city’s wants and needs, fears and dreams.

 

China Expedition itinerary map © Unknown Fields, AA

China Expedition itinerary map © Unknown Fields, AA

Baotou Steel Refinery, Inner Mongolia © Unknown Fields, AA

Baotou Steel Refinery, Inner Mongolia © Unknown Fields, AA

 

BOOK SERIES

“Tales from the Dark Side of the City” is a series of books that form an atlas to the territories and stories of a city that stretches across the entire planet, a city that sits between documentary and fiction, a city of dislocated sites, of drone footage and hidden-camera investigations, of interviews and speculative narratives, of toxic objects and distributed matter from distant grounds.

 

Overview of the main mining area to the West of Ilakaka town centre.  © Unknown Fields, AA

Overview of the main mining area to the West of Ilakaka town centre. © Unknown Fields, AA

Arctic Ocean Ice shelf, Barrow Alaska © Unknown Fields, AA

Arctic Ocean Ice shelf, Barrow Alaska © Unknown Fields, AA

 

“Tales from the Dark Side of the City” Box Set

A World Adrift
South China Sea and Inner Mongolia Expedition

The Breastmilk of the Volcano
Bolivia and the Atacama Desert Expedition

Snowing in the Supercomputer
Far North Alaska Expedition

Never Never Lands
Western Australian Outback Expedition

Treasured Island
Madagascar Expedition

High Strange
United States Black Sites Expedition

 

 

Unknown Fields directors atop an abandoned apartment block at Chernobyl © Unknown Fields, AA

Unknown Fields directors atop an abandoned apartment block at Chernobyl © Unknown Fields, AA

LIAM YOUNG

Liam Young currently lives and works in London as an independent designer, futurist, critic and curator. Liam was recently named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design in 2010. He is a founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the consequences of fantastic, perverse and underrated urbanisms and teaches award winning design studios around the world.

His projects deploy fictional near-future scenarios as critical instruments for instigating debate about the social, architectural and political consequences of emerging biological and technological futures.

KATE DAVIES

Kate Davies is an artist, architect and writer. She is co-founder of the multidisciplinary group LiquidFactory, which explores the rich hinterlands of art and architecture. She is deeply interested in how people inhabit and understand landscape, particularly those places that are extreme, hostile or remote. Her work explores contemporary notions of wilderness – drawing on modes of understanding landscape ranging from contemporary survey technologies to folklore – and operates between writing, drawing, film and photography.

Kate teaches award winning design studios at two of the UK’s most prestigious Architecture schools, The Architectural Association [Diploma Unit 6] and the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. [MArch Unit 23] and regularly runs international design workshops.

 

"Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City "  exhibition view © Sue Barr

“Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City ” exhibition view © Sue Barr

"Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City "  exhibition view © Sue Barr

“Unknown Fields – The Dark Side of the City ” exhibition view © Sue Barr


 

News source text: Unknown Fields and AA
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