Under the premise that automation disrupts not only labour markets, but the configuration, design and occupation of entire territories, Automated Landscapes documents and reflects upon the emerging architectures and urbanisms of automated labour. Given that they are not only designed for the inhabitation of human bodies, these architectures could potentially challenge conventional spatial requirements and normative rules for health, safety, and welfare, such as standards for light, ventilation, height, and floor areas, and bring new forms of territorial occupation, segregation, and contestation.
Automated Landscapes is a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched in 2017 by Het Nieuwe Instituut, and directed by its Research department. Automated Landscapes was presented at the Vienna Biennale 2017; at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in Shenzhen; as part of WORK BODY LEISURE at the Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice; and most recently as part of I See That I See What You Don’t See, the Dutch contribution to the XXII Triennale di Milano. The project has been awarded a Feature Grant from Design Trust in Hong Kong.
Since its initiation, the research project has seen many manifestations and focus points: from the Container Terminal in the port of Rotterdam to Factories in the Pearl River Delta, and from Data Centres to Dairy Farms and Greenhouses in the peripheries and concealed centres of the Netherlands.
Dairy Farms & Greenhouses
Driven by efficiency, corporate interest, finance and governmental policies, the architectures of agriculture and horticulture, and the spatial organization of human and non-human labour are being reconceived. In the countryside, dairy and horticultural farmers oversee ever-growing automated operations through dashboards on desktop computers and smartphone apps. Cows and workers become data, and their bodies are managed as abstract components of a larger system, accessed from anywhere by logging on the cloud.