|Patrice Riemens on Sun, 28 Jun 2009 18:28:34 +0200 (CEST)|
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|[Nettime-nl] FOODPRINT Symposium in Den Haag, vorige vrijdag (26-06-09)|
Beste Nettimers-nl. Het moet geen gewoonte worden, maar ik repost hier wat gisteren ik naar de engelse nettime lijst stuurde, voornamelijk omdat het een event in Nederland was, met hoge Nederlandse participatie en relevantie (al ben ik zelf toch vooral naar de 'internationale' bijdragen geweest). Bovendien betreft het ook een vrij langdurig project van kunst en architectuur centrum Stroom in Den Haag, (http://www.stroom.nl) met een heel interessante expositie van allerlei 'stedelijke landbouw/ landbouw in de stad' projecten en initiatieven in binnen- en buitenland. Ik zeg ga! ;-) NB: De website van Doors of Perceptions (John Thacka cs) is overigens: http://www.doorsofperception.com/ De tweede blog entry gaat over FOODPRINT en er komt vast meer! Cheerio, patrizio en Diiiinooos! ------------------------------------------- Yesterday apparently had to be my triple city day. Real cities, utopian cities, and possibly dystopian ones. To start with the latter, maybe they'd be better called cities of fear - or even more precisely, cities of war. That is actually the theme of an upcoming event (in the fall) in Amsterdam, for which John Armitage and I conducted an interview with French former architect & thinker Paul Virilio last month. Virilio, who recently published a book titled "Ville panique", was his usual brilliant self and said remarkable things. You'll hear about 'm in due time. (But you can get a - audio/video - glimpse here - it's about "grey ecology": (http://zoepolitics.com/sharing.html) Real cities is the department of Zainab Bawa's always fascinating blog entries about her own place, the Maximum One (Bombay, or Mumbai for the politically correct). Since yesterday's entry is allegedly dedicated to me, you'd better read it! ;-) Here the ecology is somewhat particular: the world of cabbies caught up in the urban infrastructure shift (or delirium?) - black & yellow ecology? (http://zainab.freecrow.org/2009/06/global-city-or-an-enigma/) But for green ecology, centered around food, food quality, food security, and urban farming, I made it to The Hague, and the FOODPRINT symposium hosted by cultural/architecture/arts centre Stroom (http://www.stroom.nl) And even though I could participate in just a quarter of the programme (there were 4 parallel tracks) I managed to pick up a dazzling lot about Urban agriculture, city farmers, community food schemes, alternative marketing, permaculture, best practices, gree design, and what have you! (quick refs: http://tinyurl.com/l98xo8 for the symposium http://tinyurl.com/mqztlz for the Foodprint programme & exhibition) The atmosphere in Stroom's post-industrial designscape was definitely upbeat and free of fear and pessimism. One alternative, down-to-earth and back-to-basics initiative and/ or approach after the other were presented, backed up by promising real life examples and some fine exhibits. There was not very much room for doubtful criticism, though some tough issues did gradually emerge as the day went by. But first what I witnessed: A fine presentation by Debra Solomon of http://culiblog.org fame about her ongoing community greening project in the Hague's Schilderswijk, a proletarian, ethnically mixed neighborhood falling in the administrative category of 'problem district'. Also the Rotterdam Zuid (another 'problem district') Afrikaaner Plein "market of the future" project, centered on giving left over wares a new lease of useful life: http://www.freehouse.nl/ Architects and theorist Andre Viljoen and Katrin Bohn thereafter fleshed out Debra's concepts and approach with some theoretical insights which at times, unfortunately were ... well just that: theoretical. (http://artsresearch.brighton.ac.uk/research/academic/viljoen) Artist Nils Norman and (Dutch) pragmatist Menno Swaak of project "gezonde gronden" (healthy soils: http://www.gezondegronden.nl/) gave a nice presentation about sustainable town planning, and comestibles from the city parks and gardens. I found a site on (or rather with) Nils Norman, may be it will pump you up: http://tinyurl.com/nw6q3c, though I was not entirely overwhelmed - my fault probably! But I couldn't say that of the next two presentations I attended. The first one, pre-lunch by John Thackara (Doors of Perception) was a cavalry charge (and not the Light Brigade!) through what has to be done to set the city/food balance right. And why. Instead of 'sustainability, John preferred to talk about 'resilience', yet another jargonwatch candidate, but at least one that really does say something. And does not promise to fix just everything. But the main thing was that John very powerfully brought the message home that food is the #1 issue in matters of survival of cities, that it is the most neglected one, and that we better address it before it is really too late. See: http://www.doorsofperception.com/ Addressing that issue was surely the brief of Will Allen, of the Milwaukee "Growing Power" association/ organisation, and tremendously successful non-profit that grew from next to nothing into a powerful community voice and urban farming innovation platform in just over 15 years. (http://www.growingpower.org/). Seeing and listening to Will makes immediately apparent how that came about. If there ever is a hands-on, no nonsense, get the job done pragmatist, that must be him! A kind of Barrack Obama of the urban farmlands. Much beyond the message and the appraoch, and the actual and outstanding achievements, it is the attitude and the energy that such people generate and the example they set that makes meeting them worthwhile - and their traveling around spreading the good word worth their while. Do check it out! And then, in a certain sense, Carolyn Steel, author of the book "Hungry City" (http://www.hungrycitybook.co.uk) brought it all together in the last presentation I witnessed. With her, it was back to the bare facts again where 'feeding the cities' is concerned. In a certain sense her brief was quite akin to Paul V Virilio's warnings about the impending 'integral accident'. Our worst enemy is definitely the combo ignorance + indifference, as the mess we are in is growing by the day, along the lines of urban explosion and agricultural depletion - quantitative, but more importantly, qualitative - amidst our blind reliance on unpredictable energy (re)sources in the long - or even short - run. That brought me to the idea that if we consider Virilio to be less desperate than he appears, and the folks at Foodprint and akin efforts as much more serious and concerned than their 'positive' energy levels would suggest, we should be in for some very serious thinking about our near future. The future is never granted, and always to some large extent can be made by ourselves (*). But we better start now, if we haven't done yet. And do it all together. cheers, patrizio & Diiiinooos! (*) And one of the trickiest aspects of 'killing the future' was there for all to see, and duly expressed, but not really addressed: the nightmare of the wrong adjudications game played out by otherwise smart, and even benevolent. decision-makers, who were present in the room - in droves. ______________________________________________________ * Verspreid via nettime-nl. 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