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Media Release • 6 Oct 23

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign is the first major solo exhibition of Australian filmmaker and speculative architect Liam Young in the country. Through an immersive display of moving image works, photography, and costumes made in collaboration with Ane Crabtree (The Handmaid’s Tale), Young proposes thought-provoking redesigns of our planet that offer a radically optimistic solution to the climate crisis.

The exhibition includes the Australian premiere of Young’s latest moving image work, The Great Endeavor, which presents an alternative future where humankind unites to reverse our carbon footprint. Coming direct to Melbourne from its world-premiere at the 2023 Venice Biennale of Architecture, The Great Endeavor, 2023, depicts the construction of infrastructure powered by renewable energy that removes huge quantities of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. To achieve this, Young imagines a mobilisation of workers and resources on a planetary scale.

Also on display is Planet City, 2016-2023, an animated short film that provides a window into an alternative urban future. Commissioned for the NGV Triennial in 2020 and supported by the Bagôt Gjergja Foundation, it portrays the design of a new city housing the whole human population. The work questions whether the accelerating impacts of climate change could urge everyone to retreat together into one sustainable metropolis, providing space for the rest of the planet to recover as wilderness.

The exhibition includes costumes from both moving image works, which were created by Young in collaboration with acclaimed costume designer, Ane Crabtree, known for her work on the television series created by Bruce Miller, The Handmaid’s Tale. On display are three masks that were designed for Planet City, which are worn by the inhabitants of the metropolis. Also on display will be examples of ‘workwear’ designed for future workforces seen in The Great Endeavor, and photographs by Driely S which further expand the worlds envisioned by Young. These images capture some of the workers of Planet City, whose costumes conceal the identity of the worker, including their race and gender, and foregrounds the colossal cooperation required for a city of 10 billion people by overcoming cultural and social differences.

Tony Ellwood AM, Director, NGV, said: ‘Operating in the space between fact and fiction, Young’s work presents extraordinary visions of an imagined future that aim to inspire real collective action in our present. With a practice spanning moving image, installation and performance art, Young draws on his extensive network of collaborators – including choreographers, costume designers and global think-tanks – to create spectacular imagined worlds that are very much based in the realms of possibility.’

Ewan McEoin, Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture, NGV, said: ‘Young’s exhibition speculates that addressing the climate emergency is no longer a technological problem – it is now a social, cultural, and political one. It offers hope that through creativity and collective action we can move together towards ecological balance on earth.’

Liam Young: Planetary Redesign is on display from 19 August 2023 to 11 February 2024 at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, Melbourne. Entry is FREE. Further information is available via the NGV website: NGV.MELBOURNE


Liam Young is a designer, director and BAFTA-nominated producer who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. Described by the BBC as ‘the man designing our futures’, his visionary films and speculative worlds are both extraordinary images of tomorrow and urgent examinations of the environmental questions facing us today. As a worldbuilder he visualizes the cities, spaces and props of our imaginary futures for the film and television industry and with his own films he has premiered with platforms ranging from Channel 4, Apple+, SxSW, Tribeca, the New York Metropolitan Museum, The Royal Academy, Venice Biennale, the BBC and The Guardian.

His films have been collected internationally by museums such as the New York Met, Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and M Plus Hong Kong and has been acclaimed in both mainstream and design media including features with TED, Wired, New Scientist, Arte, Canal+, Time magazine and many more. His fictional work is informed by his academic research and has held guest professorships at Princeton University, MIT, and Cambridge and now runs the ground-breaking Masters in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI Arc in Los Angeles. He has published several books including the recent Machine Landscapes: Architectures of the Post Anthropocene and Planet City, a story of a fictional city for the entire population of the earth.