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Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today: Hello, City!

Digital technologies are radically reshaping our perception and occupation of cities. Join speculative architect Liam Young and an all-seeing smart city operating system as they take a tour in a driverless taxi through a network of software systems, autonomous infrastructures, ghost architectures, anomalies, glitches, and sprites, searching for the wilds beyond the machine. The talk will be an audio-visual expedition to a city found somewhere between the present and the predicted, the real and the imagined – stitched together from fragments of real landscapes and designed urban fictions.

The performance will be preceded by a programme of short films:

Cosmorama | 2018 | Hugo Deverchère | 2018 | France | 23′

Cosmorama observes the world as it does not appear, revealing an imperceptible stratum of the light spectrum. Shot in the surroundings of an observatory (in a lava desert where the NASA recently tested Martian rovers) and in a primitive forest which gives us an overview of the state of the world 50M years ago, the film uses a near-infrared imagery process with which astronomers usually observe the deep reaches of the universe. It also makes audible the light pulsations emitted by distant stars and galaxies by transposing radio-telescopes data into sound. By disrupting our usual spatiotemporal markers, Cosmorama allows the emergence of a sensitive and collective experience of pure perception.

Transitions | Aurèle Ferrier | 2017 | Switzerland | 13’

Transitions is a journey from the civilizing void of the desert to a maximal urban, capitalistic and hedonistic density, which in the case of Las Vegas assumes some bizarre expression. The film is a contemplation without any people or moving machines in it, focussing on the built and designed.

View From Above | Hiwa K | 2018 | Germany | 13’

In the last four decades, many people have come from Iraq as refugees. In 1991, a division was created between northern Iraq (Kurdistan) and the rest of Iraq. The UN considers Kurdistan a safe zone. As a refugee you have to come from the unsafe zone, or at least prove that you do, in order to qualify as a refugee. During the interview for refugee status, an official checks to see whether you really come from the unsafe zone. He asks about small details of the city you claim to come from, and compares your answers to a map to confirm that your answers correspond to it. If you cannot prove that you come from the unsafe zone, you are sent back to your country.Many people have difficulty proving that they come from the unsafe zone, even if they really come from there. Here is a story about someone who we can call M.

The Hymns of Muscovy | Dimitri Venkov | 2018 | Russia | 14’

The film is a trip to the planet Muscovy – an upside down space twin of the city of Moscow. As the title of the work suggests, the journey also takes us back in time. Gliding along the surface of the planet, we look down to the sky and see historic architectural styles fly by – the exuberant Socialist Classicism aka Stalinist Empire, the laconic and brutish Soviet Modernism, and the hodgepodge of contemporary knock-offs and revivals of the styles of the past – accompanied by Hymnic Variations on the Soviet anthem by the composer Alexander Manotskov. the official anthem of the Russian Federation. As if in a twist of Goethe’s phrase, architecture plays its frozen music. Look closely, can you hear it?

Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. His speculative futures think tank, Tomorrows Thoughts Today, is a practice that works across science, technology and architecture. Using fiction, film and performance, he explores the potential consequences of current emerging technologies and ecological conditions.”