Browsing Category 'WINTER 2010'

The remote territories of the Australian Never Never are anything but empty. The history of these landscapes is one of nuclear testing, rocket launches and black military technologies. The skies over this red earth are scarred with the contrails of experimental weapons flights and charged with the militarised electromagnetic waves that reach out to US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Forgotten,  somewhere in this landscape, is an abandoned missile tracking station. From here Oliviu, in our Experimental Flight Lab, is launching a choreographed  flock of autonomous gliders, to drift through the air in silent protest.  Floating on engineered thermal currents their wingspan antennas broadcast white noise through the electromagnetic landscapes over Australia’s Pine Gap military base, momentarily jamming their telecommunications signals.



THERMAL GENERATORS- A prosthetic implant in to the cliff, a technological augmentation, a point where the entire light weight architectural system prop on the ground through the use of an air column.









Aboriginal dreamtime narratives speak of a time when the ground was soft and creation beings shaped mountains and rivers. Now the financial narratives of gold prices reshape the earth through massive excavations and technological incisions. The Atlas of Gold Fictions catalogues the strange infrastructures of the gold economy, from its source in the mines of Australia to the web of precious artefacts scattered across the globe. Aram, of our Future Archaeologies Department, has reimagined the infrastructure of gold’s solely virtual value through the speculative artefacts of a new network of gold objects inscribed with the oral histories of the land from which it came. A suicide note is inscribed on a single gold bullet, the sound of a grandmother’s laughter is encoded into an heirloom necklace and the dying languages of Australia’s indigenous culture are recorded onto the gold bars dug out of the very ground of their homeland. Our relationship to our finite resources is re-examined with this new dispersed geology of artefacts encoded with the cultural rather than economic values of the contemporary world.


GOLD BAR- Like the voyager gold record, the gold bar is redesigned as spools of lost and endangered languages from the indigenous sites where the resource is extracted.


GOLD VAULT- The gold vault becomes a new archive of cultural information and lost languages.


HEADPHONE JACK- This gold plated headphone jack has embedded within it an aboriginal songline from the place its gold was abstracted. Once the landscape is disturbed by mining machines, its songlines become dislocated from their lad, encoded into and spread by the gold. The aboriginal stories and song survive in the ore extracted. Just like the secret tracks of a beatle record, Hidden within the tunes of the latest pop song are the Endangered oral histories from the mine site.


EYELID IMPLANT- Mary Andreson works at a diner in Rhode Island. She likes to read ‘Hello’ and ‘Vogue’ as she dreams of having a better life. “If I am Beautiful” she thinks to herself, “I can get out of here”. So night by night she sweeps the floors and cleans the grime from the ovens, collecting the pennies that she is saving to make herself beautiful. As her hands become rough, she works towards implants that will remove the tired lines from her eyes; on which her ideal DNA is recorded, “When I am gone” she thinks, “they’ll read who I really am inside”.


HEIRLOOM PENDANT- Natapa lives in Bangkok with her mother. She is sixteen now and she wants to leave home but she is trapped. For months she has been seeing a boy, but she wouldn’t dare tell. Leaving is the only way to see him. Enduring their love in respective isolation, the young couple exchange pendants onto which their voices are inscribed reminded each other that it’s only a matter of time before they can be together. The sounds of their laughter and little sayings caress the grooves of the pendant.


LUMBAR IMPLANT- Tyler Mason, 24 from Ohio, came back from his first tour of duty in Iraq with shrapnel in his sides and a broken spine. The whole time I was out there he thought of Jane, whom he had left behind. He would sing the tune they first kissed to in his head as he was dragged to safety by a medic, wondering if he would ever see her again. When they fixed his back, inscribed in the contours of his implant he engraved that first song- “You and Me”. They patched him up, he kissed Jane and went on his way to Afghanistan.


GOLD BULLET- This was the suicide bullet used by Hunter S Thompson in 2005. Inscribed along its contours is a note to his wife Anita titled, ‘Football season is over’.

The vast territories of the Australian outback are highly contested landscapes. The technologies with which this ground is surveyed and recorded also become the political means through which groups claim ownership over it. In the skies above, mining survey planes track back and forth laser scanning the earth searching for the topographic anomalies that indicate pockets of undiscovered minerals and on the ground, the ochre stokes of aboriginal landscape painters map the songlines of their sacred dreamtime stories. In our Department of Intangible technologies Samantha Lee is corrupting this mining survey data by engineering a seasonal network of mysterious dreamtime anomalies. Anchored around aboriginal sacred sites these mythic objects slowly stalk the contested territory, distorting mining cartographies to generate a new form of landscape representation. This architecture of mirages exists at the threshold between the sky and the subterranean, between the physical and the virtual, to generate a ghostly constellation of sacred sites hidden within the dataset.

samantha.lee-06Ghost in the Data


GHOST IN THE DATA- By scanning, the hidden ghost of the landscape is revealed, becoming a new layer of meaning in the virtual dataset. The sacred sites are given a presence which extends into the invisible and the subterranean realm, and isn’t just reduced to a thin surface. A reality made explicit by Native Title, this severs the surface of land from the government-owned underground.

SEASONAL MAGNETIC FLUX- Orbiting around the sacred waterholes, these new inhabitants of the land form a constellation in perpetual motion. When they meet, the magnetic field between them is amplified, creating a fluctuating network within the data.
THE ILLUSION AS VISUAL ANOMALIES- As an experience of journey driving though the flat desert, they become mysterious beacons floating on the horizon, and their reflections or silhouettes become navigational references. Standing at the sacred site, they orbit your horizon line, which in plan view becomes a circle as the panoramic view is unfolded around you.

In Blueprint magazines roundup of the top graduates of 2011 4 graduates from Unknown Fields Never Never Lands: Outback Australia studio have been recognized. Congratulations to Ed Pearce for his project Toxic Garden, Aram Mooradian for A Comprehensive Atlas of Gold FictionsSamantha Lee for Sacred Anomalies, and Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu for Gravity One: A choreography for Militarized Airspace.

Disassembled and recomposed, strange useless machines, modern craft, littering the desert, waiting…

The Unknow Fields Division piled into a bus and drove 4500km through the manafactured landscapes of Western Australia’s Mining industry.

On the Burrup Pennisula 40 000yr old aboriginal rock art sits directly adjacent one of the worlds largest natural gas hubs. We sailed a boat along the coast in order to get access to the industrial landscape.

We used lightweight kites on Eighty Mile Beach to conduct aerial photographic surveys of the landscape.

The Unknown Fields Division followed the resource trail of iron ore all the way from the mine in Newman WA, along the ore train line to the port headland dock, where the red dust is hipped to China for smelting into steel. A hole in the ground in Australia builds the cities in China.