Archaeology of Now – Olympic Park revelation and intervention
20 - 21 Feb 2016

The White Building
Sat 20 - Sun 21 Feb, 10am - 6pm
Book workshop tickets here

Future and technology are, as William Gibson famously put it, not evenly distributed and moreover, this distribution is not only temporally-uneven but also geopolitically-uneven.

Our life in the city seems to be ever more convenient, quick and lively due to the development and introduction of technologies. Contactless payment, free WiFi, Uber that magically arrives… We tend to regard these systems as magical black boxes that accept inputs (our purchases, tapping a smartphone, etc) and output responses (gate opening, car arriving, etc). We use them without having to think or imagine their inner workings. Here, we are not citizens or customers, but we are what the service providers simply think of as 'users'. Yet, the infrastructure and power structures that support these technologies are becoming more and more complex and intertangled, while hidden or made inaccessible to us.

Archaeology of Now is a workshop that aims to reveal seemingly inaccessible infrastructures and geopolitics and to visualise their inner workings, map their impact and imagine alternative perspectives for / of them.

We invite you to put on the goggles of the Archaeologist of Now, dive into the techno-political strata beneath you and find what’s been left unseen. This investigation will focus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park area which has undergone one of the most dramatic transformations in the recent history of London. We will use The White Building, which sits on the edge of the Olympic Park as an HQ, from which we will tour into the site, revealing and hypothesising the history and systems of the Olympic Park. We will use this data to create visual, physical and digital interventions that allow us to imagine an alternative vision of the venue.

From the White Building HQ we will employ toolkits and skillsets for visualising your imagination, such as  smartphone 3D scanning, 3D modelling and tweaking, DIY VR goggles, photographing and Photoshopping, physical model-making and public intervention. But we are more than happy if you can bring your own methods!

What we will do

- We explore the Olympic Park

- We locate the signs and marks that indicate its history, infrastructure, and geopolitics

- We investigate, speculate and document

- We imagine an intervention

- We create a parasitic object either digitally or physically and intervene into one of the found scenes

- We discuss what each intervention could spark in terms of imagination


Participants Outcomes

- Attitude to investigate, reveal, open and/or exploit the hidden and the inaccessible in the systems presented to us

- Insights and perspectives on the on-going development around the Olympic Park

- Starting-points for further project developments

- Interface with 2D and/or 3D imaging and civic space design principles  



Day 1 AM: Intro and briefing

- Intro from Yosuke Ushigome and Larissa Kunstel

- Intro from Dan Williams

- Self introduction


Day 1 PM: Walkshop around the Olympic Park

- Touring with the co-walker

- Finding signs and marks

- Documenting them

- Talking to people related to the Olympic Park


Day 1 Evening: Grouping

- Browsing through the photos printed

- Picking one scene: building, sign, marks people etc, something that interested you

- Grouping (3 or 4 groups)


Day 2 AM & PM: Prototyping

- Making prototypes and interventions: physical, visual, digital… whatever you’re good at

- Intervening into the scene visually or physically, you can Photoshop-on, you can make a model and place it, then photograph it or whatever way you prefer


Day 2 Evening: Crit

- Presentation of the outcomes

- Discussion what each outcome lets us imagine and how, potential project ideas that can develop, etc

- Drink with guests


Facilitators: Yosuke Ushigome and Larissa Kunstel (both from Takram London)

Guest walker: Dan Williams


Yosuke Ushigome
Yosuke is co-founder and designer at Takram London. Receiving MA in Design Interactions in the Royal College of Art in 2013, his interest centres around the vision of our potential futures. By investigating, revealing, democratising and/or exploiting the techno-political systems that are usually invisible or inaccessible to the public, his prototypes attempt to facilitate better understanding and discussions of these ever-more-complex systems

Larissa Kunstel 
Larissa is a design engineer and currently manages the back office at Takram London. She is a graduate of Mechanical Engineering and Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art and is a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). Larissa has worked previously for the London Underground, BBC, Citymapper and fashion technology company Studio XO. She has great drive and passion and loves multidisciplinary working.

Dan Williams 
Dan Williams is half of digital design studio Buckley Williams. With roots in software development, Dan's practice seeks to better understand and use the large systems we live in through hands-on exploration and making. 

His recent works include Networks of London, a guide to London's network infrastructure in collaboration with Ingrid Burrington for Somerset House's Big Bang Data exhibition, and Postcards from a Supply Chain, a series for publication How We Get To Next visiting China's electronics supply chain from rare earth metal mine to container ship.