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Brave New Now Ebook on sale now 1,49€ (iTunes), 1,78€ (Amazon) *

Editor: Liam Young   Authors: Warren Ellis, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Bruce Sterling, Rachel Armstrong, Samit Basu, Anil Menon.   Photographers: Michael Wolf, Greg Girard, Neil Chowdhury, Vincent Fournier, Thomas Weinberger, Charlie Koolhaas, Greg White, Daniel Beltrá, Victoria Sambunaris, Christina Seely, Brice Richard, Bas Princen.   Concept Art: Hoving Alahaidoyan, Daniel Dociu.  

Brave New Now is a collection of specially commissioned short stories set in a fictional future city developed by speculative architect Liam Young of the AA’s Diploma 6 Unknown Fields Division for the 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale. Authors have been invited to inhabit the city, to breathe life into its characters and cultures and give form to its streets and spaces through narrative. It is a speculative urbanism, an exaggerated present, in which we can imagine the wonders and possibilities of emerging biological and technological research.

This digital publication was commissioned by Close, Closer chief curator Beatrice Galilee, Art Direction by Zak Group and graphic design by Raquel Pinto.


FOREWORD By  Liam  Young   Future  Perfect:  Exaggerating  the  Present   Coastline,  Future  Perfect  Concept  Art,  Hovig  Alahaidoyan,  2012   Nothing  dates  like  images  of  the  future.  Architects have always imagined the possibilities of tomorrow’s cities. In 1939 visitors to the World’s Fair were given a badge emblazoned with the words ‘I have seen the future’. It was a souvenir of their voyage through time on board the General Motor’s Futurama ride. Sitting on an automated conveyor belt, visitors would travel through a model of the city of tomorrow, its skyscrapers, traffic lights, and tangles of interchanges and expressways. It was just a glimpse, a bubble of tomorrow that existed for a brief moment, before it was levelled into the baseball field that stands there today. Rumours persist of a surviving basement still under the field, filled with artefacts waiting for the time they promised, a forgotten archaeology of the future. We can imagine the decaying remains of other speculative cities, cities of nowhere, cities of folly, cities of our hopes and dreams, our most intimate desires and our collective fears. The rusted hulks of an Archigram Walking City, now propped up on blocks, their massive metal bodies stripped down to their frame by futurist souvenir hunters and steel salvage yards. The dozers have moved in on what remains of the cruciform foundations of Le Corbusier’s Radiant City. Their concrete corners have been worn smooth from decades of skateboard grinds and graffiti removal teams. The players of Constant’s New Babylon have closed their show, packed their ladders and drawn the curtains. The endless grid of Super studio’s Supersurface, that once stretched endlessly beyond the horizon has been pulled up and resurfaced. The blinding white has mildewed and tree roots have skewed and cracked the parallel lines. The tiled landscape has been reclaimed and now paves the food courts of distant strip malls, soaking up spilt milkshakes. There is melancholy and relief as we surrender any attempt to build these cities or prevent their passing. They weren’t imagined for that purpose. They weren’t designed to be constructed, just to be explored, to be debated and discussed, to be loved and hated, fought over or wished for. Speculative cities do not just anticipate but actively shape technological futures through their effects on the collective imagination. They are one of the few places that offer a critical view back on the present cities we currently inhabit. Their towers are high and their distant lands are far enough away for us to stand outside of the everyday and look back in on it. Only in these accounts of the future are we able to determine, with their buildings and technologies condemned to decay and their dreams unrealised, the paths to follow through the unmappable.  

Urban Tectonics,  Future  Perfect  Concept  Art,  Daniel  Dociu,  2012   Architects,  designers  and  engineers  once  speculated  on  the  impacts  of  industrialisation  and  then  mass   production.  As  the  economy  collapses  and  the  city  is  being  reshaped  by  new  technologies,  the  future  is   beginning  to  become  a  project  again.  The  traditional  city  infrastructure  of  roads,  buildings  and  public   squares  are  giving  way  to  ephemeral  digital  networks,  biotechnologies  and  cloud  computing  connections.   The  physical  city  we  know  is  destroying  itself  and  the  city  is  again  in  question.  In  a  time  of  crisis  we  need   to  once  again  be  exploring  big  visions  and  bold  gestures.  It  is  not  the  time  to  retreat.  As  we  imagine   speculative  cities  of  the  imminently  possible,  we  begin  to  enact  alternative  forms  of  spatial  practice,   whereby  architects,  designers  and  artists  can  again  play  a  critical  role  in  exploring  the  implications  and   consequences  of  emerging  technologies.     Fiction  is  a  powerful  medium  through  which  we  share  and  discuss  our  hopes,  fears  and  anxieties  about   the  futures  we  want  to  have.  Cast  as  a  provocateur  and  storyteller,  the  speculative  architect  instigates   debate,  raises  questions  and  enables  the  public  as  active  agents  in  the  future  of  their  cities.  The  tactics  of   speculation  can  bring  us  closer  to  the  technologies  that  are  increasingly  shaping  the  urban  realm  and  the   scientific  research  that  is  radically  changing  our  world.  A  projective  fiction  is  a  critical  tool  that  is  both  an   extraordinary  vision  of  tomorrow  and  a  provocative  examination  of  the  pertinent  questions  facing  us   today.  

Urban Form,  Future  Perfect  Concept  Art,  Daniel  Dociu,  2012   Future  Perfect  is  a  fictional,  future  city.  It  is  an  imaginary  place  developed  with  a  think  tank  of  scientists,   technologists,  futurists,  illustrators  and  science  fiction  authors  who  all  came  together  to  collectively   developed  this  imaginary  place,  the  landscapes  that  surround  it  and  the  stories  it  contains.  Working  with   concept  designers  from  the  video  games  industry  and  motion  picture  special  effects  artists  the   conversations  and  debates  of  the  think  tank  were  translated  into  visual  and  physical  form.  Project   collaborations  were  forged  between  designers,  scientists,  technologists  and  authors  to  develop  a   constellation  of  works  that  can  be  inhabited  as  large  scale  districts  of  the  future  city.  Movie  miniature   models,  illustrations,  installations,  props  and  performances  have  all  been  developed  for  the  Future   Perfect  exhibition  at  the  2013  Lisbon  Architecture  Triennale.  The  fictional  city  has  been  formed  as  a  stage   set  for  a  collection  of  stories,  emerging  infrastructures  and  design  experiments.  It  is  a  speculative   urbanism,  an  exaggerated  present,  in  which  we  can  explore  the  wonders  of  cutting  edge  biological  and   technological  research  and  envision  the  possible  worlds  we  may  want  to  build  for  ourselves.     This  Brave  New  Now  ebook  is  a  collection  of  specially  commissioned  short  stories  set  in  the  Future   Perfect  city.  Authors  have  been  invited  to  inhabit  the  city,  to  breathe  life  into  its  characters  and  cultures   and  give  it  form  to  its  streets  and  spaces  through  narrative.  It  is  a  city  best  imagined  through  the  stories   we  might  tell  about  it.  These  speculative  fictions  are  illustrated  with  a  collection  of  photographs  of  the   present,  gathered  from  a  group  of  photographers  who  venture  out  into  the  world  documenting  the  weak   signals  and  emerging  phenomena  that  have  been  extrapolated  into  our  imaginary  city.  In  Brave  New  Now   it  is  not  clear  what  is  fact  and  what  is  fiction,  but  rather  the  two  productively  intertwine.    The  two  modes   of  working  sit  side  by  side  and  we  slip  suggestively  between  the  real  and  the  imagined,  between  the   documentary  and  the  visionary,  where  speculative  fictions  become  a  way  of  exploring  a  world  that  the   everyday  struggles  to  grasp.     The  future  is  not  something  that  washes  over  us  like  water,  it  is  something  we  must  actively  shape  and   define.  Some  of  the  people  we  meet  in  the  Brave  New  Now  are  swept  up  in  what  the  city  could  be,  others   are  reserved  and  look  on  with  caution.  It  is  a  place  of  wonder  and  of  fear.  We  meet  friends  and  strangers,   we  hear  their  stories,  and  we  imagine  our  own  life  here.  We  have  not  walked  these  streets  before,  what   things  may  come,  in  the  Brave  New  Now.  

Night View,  Future  Perfect  Concept  Art,  Hovig  Alahaidoyan,  2012  

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Brave New Now Foreword  

Brave New Now Ebook on sale now 1,49€ (iTunes), 1,78€ (Amazon) * Editor: Liam Young Authors: Warren Ellis, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Br...

Brave New Now Foreword  

Brave New Now Ebook on sale now 1,49€ (iTunes), 1,78€ (Amazon) * Editor: Liam Young Authors: Warren Ellis, Tim Maughan, Jonathan Dotse, Br...

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