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With Dissident Gardens, Het Nieuwe Instituut focuses on the most current expressions of the classic struggle between nature and culture. The programme includes a multi-part installation, a related exhibition (The Human Insect) and a series of lectures and debates.

Many landscapes have been designed and are the direct result of human action. The Netherlands is a global leader when it comes to productive landscapes. It is our ultimate (export) product of imagination and control. The garden plays a distinctive role in this. Here, humanity’s desire to control the environment clashes with a fascination with the wild, untouched forces of nature. Dissident Gardens questions and investigates the most current manifestations of the classic struggle between nature and culture. The exhibition presents influential contributions from designers, architects and artists that allow us to reflect on our current relationship with nature, living-material innovations and the impact of technology on our lives and our environment.  

You are invited to browse through four perspectives which are given central stage; the far-reaching rationalisation of the agricultural landscape, Mars as an earthly utopia, the development of the designer as a farmer and the holiday park as the outcome of a changing relationship between landscape and city. At the crossroads of nature and culture lies an exciting area to be explored. Through interdisciplinary thinking, and new dreams of the future and imaginations, we can challenge our conventions about nature and culture. In order to subsequently come to surprising perspectives and design solutions that can keep our earth and everything else out there liveable. Because it is clear: the current time is crying out for alternative visions.

Dissident Gardens installation


Contemporary designers increasingly work with living organisms and living materials, with often unknown applications. Biotopia showcases the role of the designer in this field as both researcher and maker, and presents alternatives that result directly from a direct collaboration with natural systems.

Pleasure Parks

The exhibition Dissident Gardens contains a pavilion that houses materials from the archives of Het Nieuwe Instituut.

Smart Farming

Smart Farming shows the youngest idyll of the farm landscape: as much city as nature, both technology and agriculture. What kind of spaces are created by these processes, what does this mean for insects, animals and other residents and visitors, and what kind of countryside will we be left with?

04/03 – 23/09/2018

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Tues — Weds
11.00 — 17.00

11.00 — 21.00

Fri — Sun
11.00 — 17.00

Hetty Berens, Guus Beumer, Marten Kuijpers, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Maurizio Montalti, Suzanne Mulder, Marina Otero Verzier, Mark Wigley
Frank Bruggeman, Overtreders-W, Andres Jacques
Boy Vereecken, Bardhi Haliti