UNKNOWN FIELDS: The Dark Side of the City – AA Gallery

The Architectural Association in London features since the 1st of October an exhibition called “UNKNOWN FIELDS: The Dark Side of the City” in the AA Gallery. The artists are from a design research studio that is led by Liam Young (an independent critical designer and futurist) and Kate Davies (an architect, artist and writer). Their mission is to present and explore alternative worlds under the influence of modern society and how it is dependent on those. The design studio works with film, found and representative objects, photography, graphic design and narratives. They connect fiction with non-fiction exploring what ‘the cities wants and needs fears and dreams’. Previous works sealed with the Galapagos Islands, area 51and the frozen Arctic sea ice. The current exhibition explores ‘reimagined’ cities all over the world.
The show consists out of one room in which a container like metal framework with installed seats and screens which remind of a bus interior. Further to the seats and video installations (see image) are transparent showcases included which feature golden teeth over red rice from the mines of Madagascar, a handcrafted glass batterie from Bolivia, ceramics and machine parts from other places the studio explored. In front of the ‘bus’, a video is playing showing excerpts of the journey. The outside of the bus is framed with photographs, and in the left corner, the ‘Unknown Fields Tales from the Dark Side of the City’ book series is displayed with summaries next to each volume. The group uses a broad range of mixed media elements for their exhibition, but especially the books stood out with their unique layout and used of graphic design. The especially the graphic design and illustration parts remind of computer coding and on Frank Dream visual mapping project ‘Project 360º’ from 2007 (see image).

Project 360° Amsterdam – Four Psychogeographical Maps (Graduation Project 2007)20170209_165439

In my opinion, does the exhibition feature the work of Unknown Fields very well, they critique the human desires, wished and dreams – and fires. They highlight human ignorance towards raising global problems such as economic exploration of poor and less educated countries and their citizens.  In my opinion, the exhibition is a must go for everyone, and should not only be displayed a such a small venue as the AA Gallery but maybe at a bigger and better-known place easier to access for the public.

Unknown files (2017), Unknown Files. Available at: http://www.unknownfieldsdivision.com/ (Accessed: 9.02.2017)

AA Architectural Association – School of Architecture (2017) UNKNOWN FIELDS: The Dark Side of the City. Available at: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/PUBLIC/WHATSON/Exhibitions.php?item=336#-p-unknown-fields-the-dark-side-of-the-city-p (Accessed: 9.02.2017)

Dresmé, F. (2016) Project 360º, 2007. Available at: http://www.frankdresme.com/project360/(Accessed: 9.02.2017)


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