In 2019 there was a fuss about tomato plants growing in the East River in New York. In 2020 tomato plants will be growing at an even more remarkable location: in the New York Guggenheim Museum! In the exposition Countryside, The Future, created in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, various horticultural solutions will be shown inside and outside the famous museum.
© AMO – OMA Rotterdam
“An exhibition addressing urgent environmental, political, and socioeconomic issues”, is how The Guggenheim itself describes the new exhibition that will open on February 20, 2020. “Exploring radical changes in the rural, remote and wild territories collectively identified here as ‘countryside’, or the 98% of the earth’s surface not occupied by cities, with a full rotunda installation premised on original research.”
Resulting from this original research, horticulture is presented as one of the solutions for the future. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas got in touch with the horticulture sector a couple of years ago and was impressed by the level of technique in the industry and its contribution to global issues like energy, water, food supply, food safety, sustainability and the general well-being of people around the world. That’s why he invited the industry to participate in the Guggenheim exhibition.
“Mainly Dutch entrepreneurs and suppliers show the various solutions they can bring to these developments”, says Ed Smit, founder and key connector of NethWork, a new foundation that facilitates all in-kind deliveries of horticultural objects that will visualize how food is produced in a healthy, sustainable and efficient way, in which Joep Hendricks (World Horti Center), Peter Maes (Koppert Biological Systems), Rob Baan (Koppert Cress) & Stephan Petermann (AMO/OMA) also participate.
Photo by Pieternel van Velden of the Koppert Cress greenhouse in The Netherlands 2011), selected by Rem Koolhaas
In the exhibition there will be numerous objects showing the connection between nature and sustainable, efficiently produced and healthy food. Concretely that means that there will be a transparent vertical farming production unit in front of the Guggenheim museum. Behind a transparent wall, cherry tomatoes are grown under LED lighting. Leading partners Priva, 80 Acres and Infinite Acres have united with Rijk Zwaan, Grodan and PL Light – Hortilux to complete this installation and Koppert Biological Systems will take care of the biological crop protection and pollination. “Crop and harvesting activities are provided through a daily programme”, Ed explains. “We work together with schools in the area. The goal is actively involving young children actively to get them to get to know horticulture.”
In the museum itself a greenhouse is realised by Bom Group, with a rolling bench filled with herbs from Koppert Cress, LED lights from Signify and drones from PATS. Also the Priva Kompano Deleafing Robot will be present to visualize that the role of man will change through robotization. The mini Airobug from Koppert Biological Systems is present to illustrate that sustainable, healthy and efficient production is possible through knowledge, and links innovation to big data and artificial intelligence.
Horticulture is art
While the show will last until August, it is hoped the effects will remain in place longer. And it’s not the first time horticulture is considered art. Earlier this year German aerial photographer Tom Hegen launched his Greenhouse Series, showing illuminated greenhouses in the nighttime.
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