Debates on the role of nature intensified with the industrial revolution, raising questions of population growth, mobility, and infrastructure. Today, nature must be understood as a highly constructed philosophical framework that has been naturalized, referring to naturalization rather than to the existence of a pre-existing, uncultivated wilderness condition.
Due to pressing environmental problems, we must now enter into a new debate on the role of nature as productive landscape through issues related to the agricultural production, processing, distribution, and experience of food that lie at the nexus of architecture and infrastructure.
The field of food is vast. Not only one of the largest and innovative industries in the world economy and among the biggest crises facing the planet. Food is a basic need and luxury commodity; an art and a science that crosses the boundaries of time and place; a component of daily life and global survival. The 2018 US Climate Report and United Nations climate change conference in Poland foregrounded decreased biodiversity and increasing dependence on fewer varieties and species of crops. Scientists call for resilient food systems that rely on genetic diversity.
Yet technocratic systems of automation control the contemporary farming landscape via genetic optimization, GPS tracking, satellite communications, and remote sensing devices; we continue to rely on increasingly fragile industrial-scale monocultures fostered by corporate monopolies that dangerously alter ecological balance.
The studio for the spring of 2019 poses the following questions:
—In what way are cooking and eating cultural, ecological and political actions with territorial and architectural implications?
—How do food production and consumption transform cities? What connects food economies to pressing planetary problems of climate change, inequality, and migration?
—What might form, space, process, and engagement with nature for food production and alimentation look like in 2030, with greater resource degradation leading to declining quality and quantity of food sources and restricted, homogenous and reduced dietary options?