Urban
Farmers

Program:

Exhibiton, Public

Type:

Comission

Client:

National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts (TMOA)

In collaboration with:

C-lab (Marco Cassegrande) Curator Prof. Ching-Yueh Roan

Co-exhibitors Hsieh Ying-Jun (TW), Liu Kuo-Chang (TW),

Huang Sheng-Yuan (TW), C- Lab Finlan (FI)

Associates:

Cecilie Andersson (NO), Nikita Wu (TW), Enta Yang (TW),

Yeh Chih-Cheng (TW), Vivian Garnes (NO), and Espen Folgerø (NO)

Location:

Venice Biennale, Italy

Period:

2006

Status:

Finished

Project description:

Urban Farmers

Taiwan pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2006

Inside the somewhat planned realm of the modern city, there is still a landscape of unintended side-effects. Space left over after planning, gaps, cracks dents and grooves in the image of the modern city is being harvested in different ways by different groups of people. Most of them operating as individuals, but occasionally part of bigger groups, they constitute small societies or sub-cultures. This phenomenon is happening in cities all over the world and is in a way an indicator of the cities inability to live up to the promises of its image. In the Nordic urban venues, the gap between this real city and the city-image is usually quite small and controlled, but in many Asian cities this gap has evolved to form a part of the city’s culture. Given this, the individuals within such a culture would be indicators of the possibilities that exist within the urban framework in terms of unintended utilities.

We call these individuals “urban farmers”.

Together with Casagrande Laboratory, Finland, we were responsible for the main exhibition space at the Taiwan Pavilion at Palazzo delle Prigioni, near Piazza San Marco. The team installed a glass garden with recycled and devaluated materials. All glass-gravel was retrieved from recycling plants in Taiwan, the big stones being by-products of the melting process. The boardwalk was salvaged from a construction site. LCD-screens on specially designed posts were placed in and around the garden. 24 films grouped in 6 stations, 3 from Norway and 3 from Taiwan, were portraying 10 different “Urban Farmers”. The gentle collective murmur of different languages, animal sounds and distant urban venues filled the exhibition space.

We wanted to talk to these urban farmers and tell the story of how these people operate the city. We also wanted to reveal the striking similarity of Nordic and Taiwanese urban farmers and the somewhat universal sustainability in their way of life.

Their stories expose a distinct layer of the city. We like to call it the human layer, the layer free of master plans and ideology.