Countryside, The Future
Project details ↳Internal exhibition design for OMA/AMO
↳Exhibited in the guggenheim New York
A central thesis of ‘Countryside: The Future’ is that our current form of urban life has necessitated the organization, abstraction, and automation of the countryside at an unprecedented scale. Data storage, fulfillment centers, genetic engineering,
artificial intelligence, robotic automation, economic innovation, worker migration, and the private purchase of land for ecological preservation are in many cases more actively explored and experimented with in the countryside than the city.
ATLANTROPA WAS A MEGA-ENGINEERING PROJECT by Herman Sörgel (1885–1952), a German architect and engineer, who devoted his life to the project. Begun in the late 1920s, Atlantropa was a proposal to join Africa and Europe into a single, new continent as a way to answer both the potentials and needs of each, and to assert its rightful place between Asia and the Americas, as one of the “three A’s”…
Only when coupled in a single entity could the exchange of goods, technologies, and labor be organized at the right scale. In the plan, the level of the Mediterranean would be lowered by 328 feet (100 meters): New land would be cultivated on the north and south coasts, hydroelectric dams would generate huge amounts of energy at Gibraltar and Suez, and water from the lowered sea would be used to restore the fertility of the Sahara.
THE NAZIS FETISHIZED WAR AND THE COUNTRYSIDE – the second part of their Blut und Boden motto. In a quasi-idyllic publication, the German autobahn system, typically interpreted as an efficient network to roll out a future war machinery, was presented to the German population as a network of landscaped motorways that would offer them unlimited access to beauties of ‘their’ countryside.
Only six years later (1945), the American Henry Morgenthau Jr, the former Secretary of the Treasury, prepared a report for President Roosevelt to propose what the US should ‘do with’ Germany when America would win/would have won the war.
EUROPE: 2D vs. 3D When the European Union (EU) was formed in 1958 with six states—France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Italy, and (West) Germany—the European countryside was in dire straits. WWII, poverty, archaic practices,
conflicting national interests and conservative rural “values” created a compelling case for a drastic rethinking of the future role and presence of agriculture in the “old” continent and to consider, how a balance could be maintained between urban and rural opportunities.
CRISIS AS A BLESSING: On June 5, 2017, food imports to the peninsular Arab country of Qatar – 90% of its food was imported – were abruptly stopped by its neighbours CCG (the United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, and Saudi Arabia…), who sought to change its politics.
That it overcame that crisis with remarkable speed was due to a very thorough, data driven analysis of Qatar’s ‘food insecurity’ initiated in 2008: 90% of its food was imported, of which 50% by Saudi Arabia.