UQ draggable object

Unknown Quantities
Edition 9


From the Editors

The choice of pluralising "finitude" illustrates a will to refer to different boundaries and states of limitation that we all have experienced in many ways.

The Covid-19 pandemic engenders a sense of uncertainty and reminds us of the finite nature of human life. This forced break from our routine life made us re-evaluate our relationship with the natural world, as much as it helped humanity to acknowledge and contemplate its own deficiencies and boundaries.

In this edition of Unknown Quantities (UQ), we asked our contributors to reflect on the current period and share their personal narratives and experiences. Some speculated about alternative futures, while some fell into a state of profound melancholy when reflecting on the past, and others tried to live in the moment. We believe that finitudes represent our contemporary existential condition. In response to these multiple states of limitation, UQ9 places an emphasis on cognitive fluidity, encouraging thoughts to flow freely through diverse explorations of societal relationships, as well as the human and physical environment.

Art and design can be a means of observing and reflecting upon social issues – a sincere form of communication through which we convey sentiments, generating knowledge that enriches the understanding of the present and impels the imagination of the future. Increasingly we begin to see the dynamic link between art and design and the various intersecting crises in every corner of our global society. How can we use art and design to reflect upon and open up discussion about these crises? What part can they play in coming out of them? Do they enrich, transform, restore and question our world? What does this interplay look like? What better ways of living can we imagine and design for ourselves?

Beyond the production of art using diverse media and the conceptual output of text, we have laid out a suggested reading of the issue without being too prescriptive. We invite the reader to start their journey at any junction they choose and to allow their multiple senses to evolve. Let the social role of art and design break open the finitude of these pages.


Martin Sigler Lingfei Song Jingwen Weng Daisy Storm Comber Pearson Youn Song Lee Mario Alejandro De La Peza Diaz Matt Urpani Daria Miricola


Weaving Code Armandine David, Metriek-Sebastiaan, Leenknegt & Kylie Le Weaving Code Notes on critical design today Daria Miricola Tr(e)ash(ure) Just Project Tr(e)ash(ure) The Fallen Birch Sings Under A Whisper AboutFace Weeds Before the Meadow Patryk Starzykowski Weeds Before the Meadow Building Futures Jack Self Hospital Room Shimizu Ken Hospital Room Hunt in the Morning, Fish in the Afternoon Yuxuan Shi Hunt in the Morning, Fish in the Afternoon Creative Connection In Film and TV Jonny Flint Creative Connection In Film and TV Telling Our COVID Stories Atish Indrekar, Anish Garange, Sonal Baxi, Alice Tilche Telling Our COVID Stories Yujun's Journal Yujun Tan Yujun's Journal Care Labels Nora Heidorn Care Labels Skin Database Shihan Zhang, Yangyifan Dong, Qinqin Yang Skin Database

Images (above): Metriek-Sebastiaan, Just Project, Patryk Starzykowski, Shimizu Ken, Yuxuan Shi, Jonny Flint, Ankita Jain, Yujun Tan, Juliana Cerqueira Leite and Zoë Claire Miller, Bo Fone


With thanks

We are grateful to everyone who has pledged their support via our GoFundMe link, without which this print edition would not have been possible.

We would also like to thank all the contributors who took part in this project.

With special thanks to:
Stephen Barrett
Matthew Chrislip
Isabel Estrada
Alison Green
Nick Kimberley