The Unknown Fields Division:
Never Never Lands
This year Diploma 6 continued to investigate new relations between the territories of science, nature and fiction. We have explored the complex, rich and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures and tested our preservationist and conservationist attitudes toward the natural world.
The Division has travelled on a dust-blown road trip across Australia, into the mysterious interior of this remote island continent in search of its ancient tribal hinterlands and its vast techno-landscapes. Here, beneath the Southern Cross, we listened to the beep-beep from alien worlds, watched solar arrays track the sun and observatories scan the Milky Way. We ventured into the Never Never, the forgotten terrain of mineral excavations that lie behind the scenes of modern living, to visit the immense technological incisions cut into the narrative landscape of the Dreamtime – the creation mythology of the indigenous Aboriginals. Stories and ceremonies of dreaming beings that once shaped the sacred sites of mountain ranges and river-beds are now spun with the ghosts of modern technologies.
Here, in our Department of Intangible technologies, Mazin has hidden a lost language archive in seismic vibrations and obsolete radio frequencies while Edward has reclaimed the red dust landscapes of an industrial Iron Ore Port with an electrostatic lighting garden for displaced cultures. Yeon and Ville of our Department of Geological Time have engineered nuclear waste sites as endless cautionary landscapes for future generations and Ying, of our Monitored Territories Division, has reimagined practices of kangaroo culling as a new ecology of choreographed hunting machines. Oliviu, of our Experimental Flight Lab, has launched a flock of autonomous gliders to jam the signals of Australia’s remote military bases.
These projects situate us as both visionaries and reporters, critically engaged with the conditions of today through speculation about the coming of tomorrow. Clambering over the wreckage of the future, our architecture will operate in the no-man’s land between the cultivated and the natural: a new dreaming for a new kind of wilderness.