Liam Young and Kate Davies, leaders of the Architectural Association’s award winning Unknown Fields Division, have announced an international recruitment drive for their new annual nomadic studio which will run from 11-22 July 2011. Applications are open to all and you can sign up now to join them on an extraordinary design research expedition through the unknown fields that lie between nature and technology. Participants will collaborate with a collection of international artists, photgraphers, filmmakers, writers and workshop partners Phillips Technologies Design Probes, Volume Magazine and Storefront for Art and Architecture to develop projects and produce an annual publication and touring exhibition. This year to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s Baikonur space launch the workshop will travel on a cross section through landscapes of obsolete futures from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, through the Ukraine and the Caspian oil fields to the rocket launch pads of Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrone. Places are strictly limited and applications MUST be received before May 20th. All the details of costs and arrangements here. Read on for the official project description.
UNKNOWN FIELDS is a nomadic studio that will set off on an annual expedition to explore forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. Each year we will navigate a different global cross section and map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of extraordinary futures. You will be both visionaries and reporters as the sites we encounter will afford us a distanced viewpoint from which to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological scenarios. This year, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight, we will pack our Geiger counters and spacesuits as we chart a course from the atomic to the cosmic to investigate the unknown fields between the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Ukraine and Gagarin’s launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The studio will be launched with an international symposium at the AA in London which will define the agenda for the studio before flying to Kiev, Ukraine where our expedition begins. Our journey then takes us through the Chernobyl exclusion zone and the abandoned streets of Pripyat, the atomic city. Back at ‘Guest House Chernobyl’ we will begin our series of collaborator-led workshops speculating on the possibilities of the future. We will fly to Almaty in Kazakhstan to board the overnight train that will form our ad hoc nomadic studio. We will cross the ancient silk route before alighting on the shores of the cosmic ocean of Baikonur Cosmonaut city where we will visit the launchpads and spacecraft of the Cosmodrome, the hallowed grounds of ‘platform 112’, ‘platform 250’ and test case rocket ‘Proton M’. After a final field workshop in Almaty we will fly back to London for a closing event to compile our observations. Joining us on our expedition will be collaborators from the worlds of technology, science and fiction including the Phillips Technologies Design Probes Research Lab and Archis/Volume magazine.