As design studios go Unknown Fields is an unusual set up: it’s essentially a nomadic and investigative practice that launches expeditions with the aim of making objects and films that explore “the dispersed narratives that coalesce to form a contemporary city”. It has visited the Arctic Circle, Chernobyl, China, Bolivia and, at the end of last year, examined the impact of the fashion industry on India and Bangladesh. Through a network of collaborators, UF is able to produce works, exhibitions and publications – the latest of which, a series of six books, has been designed by Neasden Control Centre and City Edition Studio.
Together, say the studio, the titles in the Tales from the Dark Side of the City series form “an atlas to the territories and stories of a reimagined city that stretches across the entirety of the planet”. Covering many of the areas and landscapes that UF has reported from since 2008, the titles investigate how our everyday lives are connected to these distant landscapes, “the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine”. These places, say UF, are “embedded in global systems that form a vast network of elusive tendrils, twisting threadlike over everything around us, crisscrossing the planet, connecting the mundane to the extraordinary”.
The following books are contained within the Dark Side of the City box set, published by the Architectural Association: A World Adrift: South China Seas to Inner Mongolia; Never Never Lands: Western Australian Outback; The Breast Milk of the Volcano: Bolivia and the Atacama Desert; Treasured Island: Madagascar; Snowing in the Supercomputer: Far North Alaska; High Strange: Roswell to Area 51. It is available from unknownfieldsdivision.com. See also neasdencontrolcentre.com, cityeditionstudio.co.uk