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Paris Design Week, 12-18 Sept. 2011
Cité de la Mode et du Design, Paris

Specimens of Unnatural History

The sun is setting on our idealistic and preservationist views of the natural world. The slow burn of evolutionary change, its endless generations, duplicating and multiplying with gradual mutation and variation is coming to an end. Now, as we stalk the strange and unfamiliar landscapes of robotics, bio technology and ubiquitous computing we are beginning to encounter a new form of engineered nature that we are not yet able to categorize. Catalogued as a collection of still lifes, stuffed and mounted taxidermy robots, curios, trophies and exotica ‘Specimens of Unnatural History’ is a near future bestiary that speculates the new relationships we may form with the designed creatures that will populate the cities of a day soon to come. They may be hopeful inventions or unexpected by-products, wondrous possibilities or dark cautionary tales. Here we gaze out across the near future population of our augmented wilderness.

Nous assistons au crépuscule d’un idéal de protection et de respect du monde naturel. L’évolution darwinienne, avec ses lents changements et ses mutations qui interviennent au fil d’innombrables générations, touche bientôt à sa fin. Aujourd’hui, à l’approche des étranges rivages de la robotique, des biotechnologies et d’une informatique omniprésente, nous sommes appelés à découvrir un nouveau paysage artificiellement modifié et que nous ne sommes pas encore en mesure de classifier.

Présenté à la façon d’une collection de natures mortes, d’animaux naturalisés, de robots empaillés, de bibelots, trophées et autres curiosités exotiques, Specimens of Unnatural History est le bestiaire d’un avenir proche. Ces spécimens d’histoire non naturelles nous interpellent sur notre cohabitation à venir avec les créatures artificielles qui habiteront bientôt dans nos villes. Porteurs d’espoir, fruits du hasard ou paris sur l’avenir, ces êtres présagent autant de merveilleuses possibilités que de sombres prophéties.

by Liam Young

par Liam Young

Liam Young currently lives and works in London as an independent urbanist, designer and futurist. Liam was named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design in 2010. He is a founder of the futures think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose projects explores the consequences of fantastic, perverse and speculative architectures and urbanisms. Probing the urban and ecological consequences of emerging technologies Liam also curates events and exhibitions including the annual Thrilling Wonder Stories program and runs the nomadic teaching studio the ‘Unknown Fields Division’ at various universities throughout Europe and Asia. Each year the division travels to extraordinary landscapes to explore the Unknown Fields between cultivation and nature and spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.

→ www.tomorrowsthoughtstoday.com

Liam Young currently lives and works in London as an independent urbanist, designer and futurist. Liam was named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design in 2010. He is a founder of the futures think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose projects explores the consequences of fantastic, perverse and speculative architectures and urbanisms. Probing the urban and ecological consequences of emerging technologies Liam also curates events and exhibitions including the annual Thrilling Wonder Stories program and runs the nomadic teaching studio the ‘Unknown Fields Division’ at various universities throughout Europe and Asia. Each year the division travels to extraordinary landscapes to explore the Unknown Fields between cultivation and nature and spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.

→ www.tomorrowsthoughtstoday.com