Unit 1 | Extra-terrestrial
Michael Richards, Dr Manolo Guerci, Philip Baston and Ben Godber
Necessarily having to allow for the contingency to teach design online only, for some period, or periods, during this academic year, Unit 1 anticipated two key questions: 1) how might we better explore, experience, learn from, and even capitalise upon a degree of isolation or social distance; and what are the precedents, and 2) for a Unit that is committed to and engagement with critical regionalism and cultural landscapes, where might we turn our attention, and where might we take our traditional midterm ‘field trip’ when we might be unable to travel anywhere?
With our interface with the world increasingly and sometimes mandatorily mediated through online technology, we can simulate a journey anywhere, and perhaps, only where, the internet, and (Google) Maps will take us? Which is in fact into our solar system, as far as the moon (and even Mars). And here, in our own county, there is an analogue ‘lunar landscape’ - the UK’s only official Desert, recognised as a SSSI for its rich and unique flora and fauna, a cuspate foreland that is the world’s second largest shingle bank – Dungeness. It is phenomenologically, paleo-environmentally, and quite literally, extra-terrestrial or ‘beyond the earth’.