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— urbantick

Book – [on farming]

Bracket : architecture, environment, digital culture‘ is a new book seriespublished by Actar with the first one [on farming] published in summer 2010. The series is a collaboration between InfraNet Lab and Archinect. The publications are designed by thumb. The edited series is based around a specific topics, but works with contributions. Each edition starts with an open call for entries.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac
Image taken from bracket / Cover of the Old Farmers Almanac no 103. The Old Farmer’s Almanac can be accessed online for the most up todate weather forecasts.

The publication is an Almanac, a yearly publication. For this topics one important reference is of course the ‘Old Farmers Almanac’ the yearly planting and weather forecast guide for farmers published since 1792, and this is how the edition starts. With this the connection between farming, science, landscape and urbanism.

Farming has been a trending topic for the past six years in landscaping, urban design and architecture. This is partly nostalgic, but there are many practical or sustainable interests involved too. Even though farming is no longer farming, the topic is on a wide range of issues woven into the current discussion of urban planning not least because of the blurred boundaries between rural and urban or the larger cale infrastructural linkages between the two.

Microcosmic Aquaculture
Image taken from bracket / Microcosmic Aquaculture Bittertang (Antonio Torres and Michael Loverich). We imagine a future where the vast and deep expanses of the ocean will teem with overabundant floating gelatinous reefs. Humans will be nourished physically and aesthetically be encouraging new floating worlds of reefs that sustain large quantities of harvestable wild and captive fish. Farming in this project is not viewed as a monoculture but the creation of a new ecology where wild and captive wildlife are ’raised’ and their aesthetic potential is enjoyed by future divers and fisherman. From Bittertang, Antonio Torres currently tastes new flavors and Michael Loverich explores frothiness in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

This is outlined by Charles Waldheim in his introduction ‘Notes towards a history of agrarian urbanism’. The discussion is structured into six chapters: tiling/seeding, grafts/hybrids, plots/allotments, harvest/yield, ploughs/combines and crop rotation/sequencing. Overall there is a strong focus on design and the discussion thereof. In fact the publication really wants to be a design almanac.

With the extended mix of projects and writings this new format can really contribute a slightly different format. It is not a magazine and not a book, but sort of manages to get the best of both. With the open call there is a broad range of perspectives covered ont he topic, but with its extended content projects are not reduced to just three renderings and image captions. There is room for a proper discussion here.

In this sense the contributed project cover all areas, ranging from Globalisation issues gobalgalisation, to faming in urban areas Nomadic Allotments, the harvesting of the oceans Microcosmic Aquaculture Bittertang or the colonialisation of the skies Cloud Skippers.

Microcosmic Aquaculture
Image taken from bracket / Cloud Skippers
Studio Lindfors (Ostap Rudakevych and Gretchen Stump) Cloud Skipping is about harvesting the resources of earth’s atmosphere. By harnessing the tremendous energy of the jet stream, Cloud Skippers imagine a community of adventurous pioneers who leave the surface to drift amongst the clouds in machine-like dwellings designed for gliding. Studio Lindfors explores the contours of imagination.

The next bracket edition wil be [goes soft], on: “racket 2 invites the submission of critical articles and unpublished design projects that investigate physical and virtual soft systems, as they pertain to infrastructure, ecologies, landscapes, environments, and networks. In an era of declared crises—economic, ecological and climatic amongst others– the notion of soft systems has gained increasing traction as a counterpoint to permanent, static and hard systems.” However call for submission has closed now. Editors will be Neeraj Bhatia and Lola Sheppard. The jury for Bracket 2 includes Benjamin Bratton, Julia Czerniak, Jeffrey Inaba, Geoff Manaugh, Philippe Rahm, Charles Renfro.

White, M. & Przybylski, M., 2010. Bracket 1. On Farming, Barcelona: Actar.