Diploma 6 - The Unknown Fields Division: Strange Times’
Liam Young and Kate Davies

Far from the metropolis lie the dislocated hinterlands and remote wildernesses that support the mechanisations of modern living. Diploma 6 – the ‘Unknown Fields Division’ – is a nomadic design studio embarking on expeditions to explore these unreal and forgotten places, techno-landscapes, alien terrains and obsolete ecologies. We probe the fertile territory between nature, technology and culture to explore our contemporary condition through critical acts of speculation. This year we ventured to a landscape that sits in the collective imagination as one of the last remaining wildernesses. Slipping suggestively between tradition and technology, we headed North, to the edge of today, through the Strange Times of far north Alaska. There, Eskimos, informed by ancestral memories of their environments, embrace the uncertainties of the future with a deep belief in their own adaptability. Meanwhile, environmental scientists assemble their observations into precise climate models in an attempt to predict the future. Caught between improvisation and premeditation these cultural relationships to landscape and time will define the future of the North and in turn our cities beyond. 

In our Invisible Cartographies Lab Alex has discovered an unseen city on the Arctic ice shelf, hidden in the spectrum revealed through infrared optical technology, and Hannah has broadcast a next nature soundscape across a curated wilderness. In our Mechanical Choreographies Workshop Dessi has built an allegorical vibrating landscape of market algorithms and Mond has choreographed a dancing doomsday clock that tracks the time remaining till the ends of oil. Reo, our curator of Lost Landscape Phenomena, has gathered an archive of cloud formations that have disappeared in a warming climate and Soonil has designed an 80-year timelapse tracking shot that transmits the wild to a world of virtual tourists. In our Extreme Measures Division Rob is launching energy-harvesting meteorites into orbit to harness the Earth’s electromotive power and Ashkan has engineered an ecosystem to accelerate climate change and sacrifice a landscape as a 1:1 experimental model of its own future.


Mission Support

With many thanks to all those who gave their valuable time to participate throughout the year in our Unknown Fields public juries.


Special Forces

Embedded Photographer, Christina Seely 
Motion Designer, Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu 
Scriptwriter, Adam Ganz 
Futurist, Guy Yeomans 
Filmmaker, Jonathan Gales 
Systems Hacker, Eleanor Saitta
Digital Wizard, Justin Goodyer 
and the Barrow Arctic Research Centre.