New Media

  • Renderlands
    Liam Young

Liam Young, Renderlands (film still of digital utopia constructed from scavenged 3D models), 2017, Los Angeles. Courtesy of the artist.

Renderlands is an immersive 360-degree documentary set in the outsourced video game companies and render farms of India. In the design studios of Western architects, developers and directors sketch out their designs for imaginary cities. In Bangalore, on the other side of the planet, a massive anonymous workforce turns these wireframe worlds into the high-fidelity digital architectures of video games, renderings, and Hollywood blockbusters. The film follows a group of local animators through the office environments where they work, the digital landscapes they produce, and the cities in which they live. The camera drifts between real footage captured on location and animated cityscapes collaged together from leftover 3D files that have been scavenged from studio hard drives. Renderlands is a utopia that exists in the thickness of the screen—a virtual city that stretches from Los Angeles to Bangalore, amid a world of demolished landmarks, drowned streetscapes, alien invasions, and outsourced dreams.

Liam Young is a speculative architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction, and futures. He is the founder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think-tank, which explores the local and global implications of new technologies, as well as Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. He is a BAFTA-nominated film producer, acclaimed by both mainstream and architectural media, including the BBC, NBC, Wired, the Guardian, Time, and Dazed and Confused. Several institutions, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum, feature Young’s work in their collections. He has taught internationally at both the Architectural Association (London) and Princeton University, and currently directs the MA Program in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc. Young's narrative approach ultimately sits between documentary and fiction, as he focuses on projects that aim to reveal the invisible connections and systems that make the modern world work.