All photos credited to Ruairi Glynn, a participant of the Unknown Fields Division.
For one week only, deep in the heart of Nevada, approximately 60,000 people make a pilgrimage to the temporary metropolis of the Black Rock City deep in the heart of the barren deserts of Nevada known as the Burning Man Festival.
One such group of intrepid explorers is the Unknown Fields Division (UFD), a nomadic studio run by independent designer, futurist, critic and curator Liam Young and designer, writer and educator, Kate Davies who run annual expeditions with various universities throughout Europe and Asia and travel to extraordinary landscapes to explore the implications and consequences of emerging trends, technologies and ecological conditions. Previous expeditions have included trips to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone through the Ukraine and the oil fields of Azerbaijan to rocket launch pad of Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrone.
This year UFD has coordinated with the Architectural Association (AA) based in London inviting students and other collaborators from the worlds of technology, science and fiction to navigate their way across New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada chronicling a "series of extraterrestrial encounters from the borderlands, black sites, military outposts and folkloric landscapes of the United States from Roswell UFO crash site, through Area 51, the Titan Missile Silo and Biosphere II.
In the last week of August I met the troupe at the apex of their trip at the Eldorado Casino hotel in downtown Reno, a day before the epic journey, to set up their UFD theme camp at the Burning Man Festival. With the help of a school bus specifically adapted to survive off-grid using solar panels and deep cell batteries, we are preparing to spend the next 6 days in the desolate barren alkaline lakebed creating a temporary structure to provide solace from the sun, assemble the first UFD experimental UFO whilst exploring the extreme maker culture and experimental environmental art out 'on the playa.'