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Liam Young: Planet City and the Return of Global Wilderness

W.M. Keck Lecture Hall
March 30, 2022 at 6:00pm

For SCI Arc’s 50th Anniversary program Liam Young will be premiering a 3 screen live cinema storytelling performance of his multi disciplinary worldbuilding project Planet City. He will guide audiences on a science fiction safari through an imaginary city for the entire population of the earth, where 10 billion people surrender the rest of the world to a global scaled wilderness and the return of stolen lands. Following centuries of colonization, globalization, and never-ending economic extraction we have remade the world from the scale of the cell to the tectonic plate. Set against the consistent failure of nation states to act in any meaningful way against climate change, Planet City emerges from a global citizen consensus, a voluntary and multi-generational retreat from our vast network of cities and entangled supply chains into one hyper-dense metropolis.

Headshot of Liam Young

Liam Young

Following the performance Liam Young will be in conversation with award-winning Chinese speculative fiction author, creative producer, and environmentalist Chen Qiufan (also known as Stanley Chan). Chen is a prolific writer, having penned many acclaimed short stories and novels that have been published around the world in many languages including his debut novel ‘Waste Tide’, a contribution to Young’s Planet City anthology book (2020), and the short story collection ‘AI 2041’ (named a Best Book of 2021 by The New York Times, Financial Times, and Wall Street Journal). The conversation will be moderated by Erin Curtis, curator at the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art.

Liam Young is a speculative architect and director who operates in the spaces between design, fiction, and futures. He is cofounder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. Described by the BBC as ‘the man designing our futures’, his visionary films and speculative world designs for the entertainment industry are both extraordinary images of tomorrow and urgent examinations of the environmental questions facing us today. He is a BAFTA nominated producer and has premiered with platforms ranging from Apple+, Channel 4, TED, SxSW, Tribeca, the New York Metropolitan Museum, The Royal Academy, Venice Biennale and the Guardian. His fictional work is informed by his academic research and has held guest professorships at Princeton University, MIT, and Cambridge and now runs the groundbreaking Masters in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles.