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On Scale and Fields: Artistic Practice and Agricultural Machines

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This paper explores thematic parallels between artistic and agricultural practices in the postwar period to establish a link to media art and cultural practices that are currently emerging in urban agriculture. Industrial agriculture has roots in the post-WWII abundance of mechanical and chemical equipment and research. These systems are highly mechanically efficient. With minimal physical labour, they extract ever staggering crop yields from ever poorer soils in shifting climatic conditions. However, the fact of mechanical efficiency is used to mask a set of problems with industrial-scale agricultural systems that range from spreading pests and diseases to poor global distribution of concentrated regional food wealth. That the conversion of vegetatively diverse farmland into monochromatic fields was popularized at the same time as the arrival of colour field paintings like Barnett Newman’s The Voice of Fire is neither coincidental nor inconsequential. Both are a manifestation of a new consideration of the monolithic in their respective fields. They explore the possibilities – and reveal the hazards – of working at a large scale. Today, a new consideration of the smaller scale in agriculture is being undertaken with the adoption of interventionist strategies in urban agricultural practices like seed bombing and guerrilla gardening. At the same time, there is a proliferation of media-connected and miniature autonomous drones and robotics. Might this combination be the foundation for a novel media-art intervention into agricultural practice?
Original languageEnglish
Publication date23 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017
EventRE:TRACE – 7th International Conference for
Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology
- Danube University Krems | Goettweig Abbey | Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, Krems / Vienna, Austria
Duration: 23 Nov 201725 Nov 2017
http://www.mediaarthistory.org/retrace

Conference

ConferenceRE:TRACE – 7th International Conference for
Histories of Media Art, Science and Technology
Location Danube University Krems | Goettweig Abbey | Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna
CountryAustria
CityKrems / Vienna
Period23/11/201725/11/2017
Internet address

ID: 82357659