The Netherlands has been a forerunner in agricultural innovation for three-quarters of a century. Food production is starting to take place more and more in containers, garden flat buildings and mega-greenhouses. Totally controlled environments with rows of designed food crops form the future ideal and lead to an architecture in which humans no longer have a place. In this ‘technoside’, driven by drones, robots and laptops, traditional concepts like nature and culture lose their meaning.
Which new – perhaps alienating – places will arise as a result? What are the effects of far-reaching automation on the farming 'profession'? Based on a 1: 1 model, 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?
The Smart Farming exhibition is part of Automated Landscapes, a long term research initiative by Het Nieuwe Instituut launched in 2017 and that informs the upcoming Dutch Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018. In this particular installment, the project looks at the automation of Dutch landscape and the proliferation of enclosures where external climate conditions and the human body are rendered increasingly irrelevant. Smart Farming can also be seen in the context of a series of projects at Het Nieuwe Instituut that examine the implications of automisation and artificial intelligence (AI) for architecture, design and digital culture, including: Sicco Mansholt: A Good European (2014), The Mansholt Letter (2015), Garden of Machines (2015), Bot Club (ongoing) and Cities of Making (2017).