Automated Landscapes
Research Department, Het Nieuwe Instituut

Automation, and the 24-hour, 365-day production cycle it enables, disrupts labour markets and the configuration, design and occupation of entire territories. Automated Landscapes documents and reflects upon the spatial design of automated labour in the Netherlands. This collaborative research looks at the greenhouses that occupy vast parts of the country, and where the productivity of the ground is controlled and maximised by automated technologies. In their interiors flowers and fruits grow assisted by climate control, artificial lighting, and water and nutrient distribution systems. This data-filled garden reveals itself to the outside world in the screens of the control rooms and smartphones through which operations are monitored, as well as through the colossal photo-pollution generated by greenhouse emissions.

As these rectangular boxes artificially light the sky, humans, animals, and plants living around them are deprived of the possibility of a dark, starry night. Yet, while some parts of the planet are affected by the recurrent presence of light, in others life evolves in its absence, around recurrent power outages and blackouts. Darkness is an unevenly distributed, and designed, condition.