27 May 2018


Dissident Gardens

Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam

– 23 September 2018



The programme at Het Nieuwe Instituut called “Dissident Gardens” unites interdisciplinary and visionary approaches to a new relationship between nature and culture that are intended to clarify and change the imperfect status quo. Topics include, for example, living materials, controlling landscapes, utopias of life on Mars, and the reintroduction of nature into public space.


The garden is a concept where nature meets culture. In the context of the long-term research project “Landscape and Interior” at Het Nieuwe Instituut, “Dissident Gardens” considers the struggle between the forces of nature and the human endeavour to harness our world’s resources. The programme includes a multipart installation, the exhibition “The Human Insect” and a series of readings and workshops. The installation is structured into four categories: Biotopia, Pleasure Parks, Gardening Mars, and Smart Farming.

“Biotopia” presents design studies and material solutions by various designers dealing with living and growing materials such as fungal cultures, algae or bacteria. Among them is the German designer Julia Lohmann, who uses seaweed as a medium for her work.

“Pleasure Parks” consists of a collection from Het Nieuwe Instituut’s archive and visualises human culture in the Netherlands from landscape architecture to sustainability.


“Gardening Mars” deals with the utopia of cultivating living things on Mars and finally making it habitable for humans. The futures showcased here focus on solutions that either serve as an extension of the Earth or shift processes to Mars. For example, the project “Bronnen” [spring] includes elements from various scientific research projects on life on Mars. “

Smart Farming” is the title of a full-size model of an ideal greenhouse, which represents futuristic ideas, such as cultivating artificial crops and automating them with state-of-the-art technologies. This prototype shows how far away these extreme ideas are from nature.


Nº 283
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