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ARQ (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0717-6996

ARQ (Santiago)  no.102 Santiago ago. 2019

http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-69962019000200014 

Dialogues

The risk of not speculating

Liam Young1 

Marcelo López Dinardi2 

1 Sci-Arc, Los Angeles, CA, USA. liam_young@sciarc.edu

2 Department of Architecture, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA.

Abstract

Speculation is a tool that architects know very well. But, what other ends can it be useful for? Here, Liam Young introduces us to a world in which design may no longer be only human-centered. Thus, speculation would no longer be a tool for architects to design buildings but may rather operate as a warning for us to redefine our own tools as architects.

Keywords: speculation; landscape; critique; process; interview

Marcelo López-Dinardi: When you started working on film and digital technologies, was this a kind of discontent with the limits of architectural production, or were you always interested in the sort of game culture or something related to the production of digital imagery and media?

Liam Young: I didn’t arrive at this form of practice in film and the entertainment industry through a particular fascination with those mediums in-and-of themselves. I was always interested in architecture and urban questions, but it seemed that we were arriving at a period where the traditional forms of practice of an architect or urbanist were no longer sufficient in dealing with those questions.

We are at a point now where the forces that shape cities, spaces and cultural communities existing within them fall outside of what architects would typically act upon. The conditions that truly shape cities today, things like networks, planetary systems, urban scale artificial intelligence (AI), economic forces, mobile technologies, all of these things exist outside of the traditional languages of representation that architecture normally operates with. So, my practice tried to evolve more and more towards forms of storytelling, fiction, and film, purely as a way to try and keep up with the forces that are shaping cities.

You know, at the time I was working for Zaha Hadid Architects I found the ways that we engage with cities - through the making of buildings as singular sculptural objects - to be decidedly ineffective, pointless and vacuous exercises that I didn’t want to be a part of anymore. So I looked into ways in which I might remain relevant as an architect in this world. It seemed like parasitically operating within the entertainment industry could be an effective way to disseminate critical ideas about architecture, the city and space.

Figure 1 Young, Liam (Guest editor). “Special issue: Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene”. Architectural Design (London) Vol. 89, Issue 1 (January/ February, 2019). Portada 

MLD: Following up on that, you call yourself a ‘speculative’ architect. We know that speculation is something that every architect does by trying to anticipate and imagine things in advance. We also know that speculation is in great part one of the main tools of financial trading. Speculation implies taking risks. What is your take on this idea of speculation that is productive for yourself?

LY: Typically, we think about speculation as a form of risk-taking, but various long-term planetary crises have escalated to a point where now the real risk is not speculating at all. I’m someone who tells stories about the global urban and architectural implications of new technologies, and these technologies and forces are coming to us faster than our cultural capacities to understand what they might mean and what their consequences could be. So, speculation becomes, nowadays, a necessary and fundamental tool that we need in order to critically engage with these technologies. We have to anticipate and imagine what all of their unintended consequences might be in order to prepare ourselves for a transition that is, in many ways, already upon us. So, it’s the lack of speculation that actually has created so many of the problems that we find ourselves in. Speculation is about imagining what might come, not to predict what could have happened to monetize it, but in the hope that we might change our actions in the present. Either we set in motion practices to ensure that speculation doesn’t come true or we scaffold the conditions where a productive future might become a reality. Speculation is about prototyping a range of possibilities so that we might come to some understanding about where we want to go. So, we are on a point now where the future really is a project and where speculation is not an active risk, it is not a tool of financial modeling, it is actually a necessary way of engaging with a present that’s moving too fast for traditional modes of operating to be relevant or useful. So many of the conditions we are faced with I describe as ‘before culture technologies,’ because they arrive faster than our cultural and ideological understanding of them can evolve. These are technologies before ideologies. Speculation is a way of prototyping what our responses to these conditions might be so that we can make more informed judgments and decisions in the present moment. The greatest misunderstanding of speculation is that it’s actually about the future. Speculation is really about a way of looking right into the present and helping us make more informed decisions.

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 2 A Facebook data center 

MLD: In seeing your work and reading some of your writings, there’s a lot of discussion about the post-human, and the Anthropocene and the post-Anthropocene because these technologies are in many ways omitting the human. But when I see your work in film it becomes clear that even though these buildings - data centers and these sort of infrastructures - are not necessarily intended to be inhabited by humans, they’re still connected to humans. We are the end-users that still need to push a button for that light to exist. How much of the human as an embodied entity remains or takes part in this? Because it’s clear that you still count on the human body in your narratives, right? The lovers that are exchanging messages through the drones in the London Towers in your film In the robot skies: a drone love story; they’re still there. What is your understanding of the human - not only the human condition - within these technologies?

LY: I try to avoid the term ‘post-human’ because in science fiction and speculation that comes with a lot of baggage. The post-human still privileges the human at the center of everything; it’s associated with things like augmented bodies, cyborg, uploading your brain to the cloud, all things that still privilege the human as being the center of technology. I’m much more interested in a condition which is better described as ‘extra-human,’ something that is outside of or beyond human. The spatial products of the ‘extra-human’ world are what I call ‘machine landscapes.’ Things like autonomous ports, data centers, logistics warehouses, electronic factories and so on constitute a form of ‘architecture without people’ and exist totally separate from or indifferent to us. Ironically these machine landscapes are the most critical sites of our world, but they are entirely void of humans. For example, a data center is the most significant cultural space and typology of our generation, yet it’s a spatial condition that is not designed for us, it’s not organized around the poetics of occupation or our own comfort, it’s architecture as a vector for cooling air to the temperature that a hard drive needs. When our collective history is digital this is our cultural landscape, but unlike the cathedral or the library, or the art gallery, it doesn’t presuppose that the critical people engaging with it are physical bodies walking through space. In machine landscapes the traditions of architecture fall apart when we start to engage with conditions that are separate from the human body. The language of architecture, anthropomorphic proportions, the metric handbook, building regulations and so on - all forms which had been fundamental to the tradition of architectural practice - become completely irrelevant and we need to start developing new languages for what these spaces might be. My interest in machine landscapes is that they signal an end to what we normally describe as human-centered design or user-centered design. Normally that’s a phrase that is thought about, in urban planning terms, as the solution to cities. The images associated with human-centered design are paved streets, tree lines, boulevards, walkable cities, but actually human-centered design is fundamental to the crisis that we’re now in. We’ve been engineering the planet for our own desires and comfort during our entire history. I’m interested in what it means to start to engage with something like hard drive-centered design, or atmospheric-centered design, or whooping crane-centered design, or wetlands-centered design, or driverless car-centered design. I think that, if we’re going to engage with the world in meaningful and complex ways and if we’re going to sustain ourselves into the future, we need to displace the body, the human body, as the center of all that we’re interested in and all that we design.

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 3 Last Home, 2019 

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 4 Renderlands, 2017 

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 5 In the Robot Skies, 2016 

MLD: You were discussing the relevance of the ‘post-human’ and how we engage with it for creating imaginaries for non-human centered projects and design. Following that, if we think about storytelling, I think your work is extremely anthropological because it tells stories about things, about things made by humans. But one of the aspects we tend to omit within this discussion is human labor and I would like to hear your thoughts regarding that. Buildings still need to be constructed and maintained; there’s something important about human labor here, what are your thoughts regarding human labor within the discussion of these machine landscapes?

LY: For the most part, in the machine landscapes that we’ve been examining humans are still a small part of the process, but they’re dealt with like contaminants in a system. Humans are not only extraneous to the needs of human landscapes but in many cases these actually require our very absence. In machine landscapes we are foreign bodies, alien agents that need to be managed and controlled to the point that we’re behaving as predictably as the native machines.

We are optimized to the point that human bodies are just a component in machine landscapes and we are not allowed any agency. Bodies are calculated and controlled as much as the machines that they’re working with. So, I think that the question of human labor isn’t as easy as a lot of people would believe in mainstream media, where they talk about machines simply replacing humans. What we’re seeing is that the machines work in collaboration with humans, where we are just a component in a planetary-scaled robot that is producing our world. I was recently in a freezing small town in the Ural Mountains of Northern Russia to visit an indoor cucumber farm. Behind sealed, double glazed glass walls, fields of crops are managed by ai control systems with engineer-accelerated solar cycles to speed up growth processes. Humans are not allowed into those farm spaces at all, they’re places that we call ‘human exclusion zones.’ Workers at the farm are restricted to narrow corridors between the sealed fields looking in on them between the glass. We are quarantined for fear that our bodies carry contaminants or that our breath or our temperature will upset the system. The body is a foreign agent within these spaces of production. These kinds of human exclusion zones are everywhere, they really are the fundamental critical landscapes of our age. When I was with our Unknown Fields research studio travelling on a cargo ship through the ports of Asia we saw another example of this condition of machine labor. A large number of the global shipping fleet are controlled and driven by algorithms running out of offices in places like Copenhagen where MAERSK, the largest shipping company in the world is based. There’s still a crew maintaining the ship, but in many ways, they don’t really need to be there as so many of the decisions once taken by a captain are managed and controlled by remote operators. We get excited about the promise of drones delivering pizzas or Amazon packages but there already is a massive fleet of thousands of drone ships delivering 90 % of everything we own. The captain and crew are there really as babysitters just minding the wheel in case something goes wrong or for legal reasons, because we have yet to develop the legal infrastructure to manage an ocean filled with unmanned mega-ships. In the end, perhaps the last person left in these machine landscapes will be someone who is there just for legal reasons, where our only remaining value is our literal physical presence.

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 6 Seoul City Machine, 2018 

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 7 Seoul City Machine, 2018 

MLD: It seems critical because this condition speaks to what I’ve been referring elsewhere as the ‘dismembering of bodies,’ as a kind of breaking apart of our wholeness as sensorial and experiential animals and, for me, this is something that relates to your work in relation to media. There seems to be a strong divide, particularly in our field, between the group that appeals to the sensory experience versus media-bodies living a nervous-technological world. In the introduction to his book The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan illustrates this idea by saying that “the personal and social consequences of any medium - that is, of any extension of ourselves - result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technologies” (McLuhan, 1964). You are pointing out that we need to engage in a global scale, that we need to work at a planetary scale, which of course you support with the work of Benjamin Bratton and the concept of the ‘stack’ and the planetary scale impact of technology. Are we designing our own extensions to the point where we fragment ourselves and stop existing as a social group? The reason I’m stressing this is mostly a question of democracy. You said before that you were interested in urban questions and citizens, or people within a city, and it feels like everything is shifting now from the ‘citizen’ to the ‘end-user,’ and the end-user is mostly bits and numbers, while the citizen was this person that needed to appear in public, in the city. So, how do we see this in terms of our role as a collective of social bodies? If we dismember ourselves, do we also dismember democracy? I mean, we may need to start rethinking political systems by integrating digital technologies as representatives of ourselves.

LY: Yes, and now I am expanding on the themes in my Machine Landscapes book in a new book for Strelka Press titled Architecture Without People. The closing line of the introduction is that the beginning of Machine Landscapes is the end of human-centered design and signals the necessity for planetary-centered design. So, I think that what we’re talking about when we talk about the human is a question of hierarchy. We’ve always put ourselves at the top of this network diagram, but now we find ourselves meshed in a more complex set of planetary relationships. That’s the shifting focus that I’m interested in. What these digital technologies have done is erode the relevance of the nation-state and the network has created a condition that is post-geographical, post-spatial. We need to start to explore what it means to be citizens of the network, agents in digital space as opposed to veterans of a particular now-defunct geography. This is a central question that points to a reimagining of the very nature of what an architect might actually do. How do we operate in a city that is no longer defined as a single point on a map and that is no longer understood as just a collection of physical objects that people live inside of? How do we support a city that is actually an atomized population of e-residents or a series of network protocols or ip addresses? The governing of these conditions is based now on platforms and no longer in centralizing systems of power. This form of platform speaks to new forms of governance and suggest new roles that the physical body might take on. Perhaps that is a way of engaging your notion of dismembered bodies where we’re all fractured and distributed across a networked territory. I think it’s important to explore what it means to design space and architecture that accommodate a body that is planetary in scale, not the scale of Corbusier’s Modulor or the metric handbook.

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 8 Supercomputer. Met Office’s Cray XC40. Exeter, UK. 

MLD: This concept of the citizens of a network is super interesting. In relation to the question of hierarchy, I think this is the European heritage of our Western culture: since the Renaissance we have the idea that we are the center and that we control everything; hand in hand, technology has always been there. But it’s interesting because this question of hierarchy also comes as a question in this idea of the citizen of a network. Because these networks are in large part private networks so, in a way, we are subjected to these networks that we can benefit from, but at the same time, have minimal degrees of agency and control of. There have been interesting cases with more basic or earlier versions of technologies (if we think of the Arab Spring for example), in which technology helped reconfigure a social group rather than dismember it. How do we engage with a mostly privately-owned network? Is there a way to think about this network that is not necessarily dependent on five companies around the world?

LY: A more appropriate way of describing it is that we’re customers of the network, customers-citizens of it. And in turn, that would suggest that we’re now customers of a city, as opposed to citizens of it. These networks are owned and operated by a few massive groups. And we’ve arrived at this point because so many of the technologies that generated these conditions were developed by and for private entities doing so on behalf of shareholders, not on behalf of a voting public. So, the systems of power that would typically result from a democratic vote are now being outsourced to private entities. Now when we talk about the citizens of the city really what we are talking about are the users of the city, and human-centered design is simply a friendlier way of describing customer-centered design. Things are optimized for our benefit as a sales practice, not as a condition of civic responsibility. We need to understand that designing the governance of networks is also the mechanisms through which we can create new forms of civic spaces. But, you know, there’s great potential in doing that; we are already - from the ground up - utilizing the network to do really interesting things. We’re at a point where we’re seeing the emergence of what we might describe as (hashtag) ‘#activism,’ or Facebook-enabled civic actions. Events like the Women’s March or the global climate protests are collections of human’s bodies at scales we’ve never seen before. We’ve witnessed the larger gathering of humans in a single place in all our history and it was organized through the network. In the early days of the internet, the network was discussed as something that could keep us apart, where we would just stay in our homes telecommuting and streaming content. Now it is being addressed as something that scaffolds collective action at scales that can have real meaning. And that’s exciting, to see that new structures of action have emerged, either through the co-opting of private platforms or the creation of new ones. So, these are interesting precedents but for this to have a significant consequence for people that aren’t just members of a connected elite, we require a fundamental rewiring of the conditions of access and privacy. It requires the remaking of these conditions toward what we might describe as public or civic code, as opposed to proprietary IP.

MLD: It’s really interesting because your work engages with these larger questions through fiction. In great part, you work with the super-real-hard-fact realities coming from these conditions, and then present them through fiction in order to, perhaps, make us more aware and create some level of consciousness of them. And it’s interesting because, this is the history of architecture. In Machine Landscapes, you have a glimpse of what will be one of the projects by oMa-Rem Koolhaas about the countryside and how these technologies are shaping certain buildings. But it seems to me that your work with science fiction occupying digital technologies, film and elements from the entertainment industry, is the continuation of the history of architecture. There is a car-obsessed Marinetti creating a whole movement - the Futurists - based on these conditions. As so happens with Le Corbusier and the transatlantic and the silos and his obsession with transforming these into architecture, or at least inspiring the production of architecture. It seems like your work is looking at those same things, but not to make new building forms. If Le Corbusier were alive today, he would be looking at digital technologies and data centers and figuring out maybe that what we need to do is not necessarily the building, which is, I guess, what you’re pointing out. In your texts you convey that it’s not really about the building of the data center, it’s the larger territorial but also social implications that these changes bring about. It’s interesting that you mention this idea of anticipation and changing the present while you’re producing and working with science fiction. Where does science fiction fit within your work, how does it operate? Is entertainment the only way of engaging people rather than telling them hard realities?

LY: In recent times, speculative design has become a legitimate genre of its own. Product design was always very much tied to the desires of luxury and capital until people like Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby developed significant projects that showed how speculation could meaningfully engage urgent issues around biotechnology or emerging technologies. This was a hard-fought battle to legitimize product design beyond the physical functioning object to a prop for conversation. However, in many ways, architects have always been practicing through the non-functioning prototype, because the nature of the profession is that to produce a building requires a massive amount of money and the mobilization of huge forces of power. So it has always been critical to the discipline to speculate through forms of paper architecture. And I get that what I’m trying to do by co-opting the term ‘speculative architect’ is to legitimize that form of action, not as something that we do to win a competition, nor as the sort of work leading up to a real building or in the gaps between commissions, but as meaningful projects in their own terms. The success of a speculative project isn’t about whether or not it is actualized or gets literally built, but it operates in the world on its own terms. It shouldn’t be thought of in the same terms as what architects did in the eighties, when they couldn’t build anything and gravitated to academic institutions to do drawings. That’s not speculative architecture either, that’s just treading water, waiting for the economy to change. When we launch that project into the world it should be positioned in such a way that it finds traction and creates change on its own terms. And that’s the kind of work that I’m interested in, and I guess the reason I became more and more interested in fiction and the entertainment industry is that these are ways in which speculation can have gravity in the world and can engage audiences in ways that architects normally don’t. I think it’d be very rare to have a conversation with a member of the public that would understand Le Corbusier’s Algiers Project, and I’m not sure many people would have something to say about Libeskind’s MICROMEGAS drawings, but if you ask them about Blade Runner most people will have something to say about the future of our cities. That’s the power of fiction, it’s an extraordinary shared medium that transcends the traditional boundaries that the architectural discipline puts up in front of us. If we really value the work that we do, if we think the ideas we talk about in conversations like this one are meaningful and important, then it is our responsibility to find forms for these conversations that take them outside of the typical conferences, exhibitions and magazines that we occupy. That’s why I’m interested in storytelling, because it’s a way of emotionally connecting people with the technologies which are fundamentally changing their lives. I want people to be able to have a debate about the stuff that we’re talking about, in homes, in bars, on street corners, since the things we are engaging with represent fundamental changes to our ways of life and our systems of power. That’s why science fiction or film practice has a really important role. We say the future is a verb, it’s not a noun, it’s something that we all shape and craft with our own daily decisions. So, perhaps it means creating stories for someone that is working on one of these big tech companies and is making decisions about developing a new tool or a new platform. Maybe they will make choices that are informed by one of these conversations. If we really want to enact some of the changes that we’re talking about, it will require someone to write a piece of code and not to sell it to someone else for as much money as they can get, but to make it open and accessible, or to not take a really well-paying job with a private entity, but to go and work for a local municipality, and write software for that municipality about the governance on the street, as opposed to working with Google on a tech campus/city in Toronto. So that’s why I’m interested in speculation. The scale of change that we need in relation to technology and the planetary crisis is so large that it really requires a cultural shift. I’m interested in what that means, for us to be operating and producing cultural objects and stories, as opposed to buildings as objects and expressions of capital.

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 9 Tomorrow’s Storeys | Critical fictions on the future of Athens 

MLD: In the introduction of Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post-Anthropocene, you mention that “we need to embrace and embody our uncomfortable place in a world that we are no longer at its center” (Young, 2019). When do you think this shift happened? I guess you’re referring to one in particular, mostly related to the latest digital technologies and their implications in space, but maybe you can elaborate on that idea of this uncomfortable place, and when do you think (if ever) we were actually focused on human centered design.

LY: What we’re talking about in Machine Landscapes isn’t a dramatic short-scale rupture, it’s an evolutionary condition that began in the Industrial Revolution. The Luddites smashed the weaving machines and London taxi drivers brought traffic to a halt in the streets in protest of Uber. It’s been a slowly creeping accident. I think that what I’m calling for with such a book and with the type of work that I’m doing now, the type of writing I’m producing, is to recognize it and to identify its edges. When we first encounter a new territory the most critical act is mapping it and naming it. And really that’s what I’m trying to do, just to identify and focus on a condition which has been hiding in plain sight, but that we’ve done our best to ignore. We put these machine landscapes typically on the edges of the city, we put them out on the periphery, we put them in countries that we don’t normally look at, we populate them with people we don’t normally care about. I guess what I was trying to do with the Machine Landscapes book and with the new upcoming Strelka book is to call them out and map them, describe them as a condition which is already here. Because the next step after mapping a territory is to decide: do we move in and colonize it, or do we leave it alone? I think that’s the choice we’re facing now, because I think if we’ve always been designing human-centered approaches, that’s been the default setting for a long time now. And the critical change is not to force our way into the machine landscapes and beat down the door. I don’t think we really need to say that data centers are public spaces and that we should be designing conditions where we’re sitting amongst the server aisles, having a picnic in the Google data center, occupying it like a landscape. The question is not to repeat the mistakes of the past but to acknowledge that what these places represent is a condition where we privilege something else. I think to learn from machine landscapes and the designs for technology presents strategies for how we might design for wetlands or for species of fish. It’s not about designing the fish so we can catch more of it, it isn’t about designing the fish to grow faster so it’s bigger when we eat it, it’s not about designing the fish or the reef so that we can see it when we go on holidays and we see that on eco-tourist holidays. It’s about designing the fish because the fish is just as important as us and the world needs them. So, I think that’s the kind of way that we may engage with, and explore, and learn from these machine landscapes. Does that make sense?

Source: © Liam Young

Figure 10 Where the City Can’t See, 2016 

MLD: Yes, absolutely. It’s also a great way for me to clarify what were your thoughts on human-centered versus non-human-centered design. There’s, of course, a lot of criticality towards the concept of Anthropocene and Post-Anthropocene, since it evades the realities that unprivileged people suffer, not really talking about machines replacing human labor at all but really about the growth of inequality or, for example, the level of precariousness that companies like Uber and Lift bring to drivers. There’s a very deep human condition into that, which is the level of precariousness of those workers as human beings. Do we need - and this is a straight question - any kind of regulation for these technologies in general? I’m rephrasing some of Adam Greenfield’s thought in Radical Technologies: The Design of Everyday Life (2017), and how he argues that information technologies have conquered the conditions of our everyday life by information processing. So, do we need regulation to regain control of some of these? Is it something that we should pursue within these discussions?

LY: Yes, I mean, sort of yes. The problem is that regulations and legal solutions for these things move too slowly. You see, finally we’re getting around to having conversations about the regulations of Facebook, they had the Senate hearings last year regarding Facebook in the Us, trying to figure out how the hell it became susceptible to Russian hacking and how Facebook was used to influence elections, and maybe it’ll take another year or two for the results of those hearings to translate into forms of regulation. We should’ve had that discussion 10 years ago when Facebook began, because now it already got an idiot elected to government who’s tearing apart the world. The genie is already out of the bottle. What would it mean to speculatively regulate so that we could anticipate or imagine and prototype for the applications of platforms like Facebook before they become real? I think that’s the type of regulation that we need, regulation aligned with speculation; because at the moment, if you take something like driverless cars, these things are already coming. They will fundamentally change what cities are and how we operate within cities. And just now the architecture and urban profession are getting around to thinking about what this means, you know, in every biennale, in every architecture school, there’s the driverless class studio or research grant or exhibition project trying to explore what that might mean. But it’s already too late. Car companies have invested billions of dollars in the technology and they’re not going to let that go. These things are coming, and we need to rush to figure out what it means and how we bring them about in a productive way. The only reason they’re not here yet is that we haven’t figured out who to sue when they run someone over and kill them, otherwise they’d be everywhere. It’s not because we haven’t figured out whether or not they could be in public space, or the nature of the street, or the formation of the city, those are issues that no one really has given time to yet. What does it mean to create a form of regulatory practice that allows us to have these kinds of conversations before the tech company spends billions making them come true? I think that’s an interesting conversation to have and my version of what that looks like is rooted in forms of speculative fiction.

MLD: Absolutely. I really appreciate your thoughts on that. Finally, what are the urgencies for schools of architecture? What schools of architecture should be doing to catch up with the speed of change, which is, I think, the pressure that we are experiencing right now everywhere? How do we adapt to a change that is happening so fast? What do we do in architecture schools to move the machinery? And I mean the bureaucracy of schools but also the machinery of the knowledge of the field, to advance and catch up with these conditions. Might speculation be one of those answers?

LY: The larger answer is that we need to understand there are different types of architects that can operate in the world, and we need to be educating students to take on those roles, rather than educating students for a profession that no longer exists. Schools need to remain relevant by understanding and training students in new forms of practice that may actually help us. Speculation is one form of that, but not the only one.

Referencias

GREENFIELD, Adam. Radical technologies: the design of everyday life. London; New York: Verso, 2017. [ Links ]

MCLUHAN, Marshall, Understanding media: the extensions of man. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. [ Links ]

YOUNG, Liam (Guest editor). «Special issue: Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene». Architectural Design (London) Vol. 89, Issue 1 (January/February, 2019). [ Links ]

* Liam Young Australian born architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group whose work explores the possibilities of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms. Young also co-runs the Unknown Fields Division, a nomadic research studio that documents emerging trends and uncover the weak signals of possible futures. He has been acclaimed in both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, Guardian, Time Magazine, and his work has been collected by institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum. He has taught internationally including the Architectural Association and Princeton University and now runs an M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc.

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