Design Trust Feature Grant

Automated Landscapes: Architectures of Work without Workers

 ‘Automated Landscapes’ is a research project leading to an exhibition and publication on automation: starting with the premise that automation disrupts not only labor markets but the configuration and design of entire territories, the project seeks to document and describe the emerging architectures and landscapes of fully-automated, non-human work, building today’s “anonymous history” (à la Giedion) as it’s happening.

Following on research focused on automation in the port of Rotterdam and across agricultural clusters in Holland—at the forefront of innovation—the project will now look to, debatably, the main arena for such technologies: the Pearl River Delta. With that, the aims are threefold: to shed light on the impact of automation in other geographies and scales; to compare the spaces of automation in both regions; and to open a conversation on the broader implications of the transition from being the man-powered ‘factory of the world’ to a territory of automated production.

Since its founding in 2013, Het Nieuwe Instituut has fostered research initiatives in the form of exhibitions, events, archival investigations and publications by a variety of practitioners, independent researchers, academics and curators. Its Research and Development department (R&D) acknowledges and gives visibility to research projects and initiatives that develop engaged, self-aware and critical arguments about alternative modes of living and experimenting in the cultural field. Grounded in the principles of design and innovation, concepts bound up with optimism as well as change and inherent conflicts, the investigations, exhibitions, and public events aim to serve as a motor for collective forms of creativity and responsibility, and to offer departures from established modes of thinking. 

The Artistic Director of Het Nieuwe Instituut is Guus Beumer. The Head of the RD department is Marina Otero Verzier, and team members include Victor Munoz Sanz (co- researcher Automated Landscapes), Marten Kuijpers (co-researcher Automated Landscapes), Tamar Shafrir, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Katía Truijen.