Pojang Nongbang (loosely translated as "portable farming space") is an art business proposing to revitalise neglected or mismanaged public space using urban food production.
Installation, Sound design, Interviews.
The first product line of sculptural growing installations showcases different approaches to food production, explores new forms of public art and seeks to reimagine scripts that dictate how we use cities. The project is informed by research into various farming methodologies including Biodynamics, Organic Community Gardening and Urban Smart Farms.
In the post Corona world we will need to rely less on global and even national supply chains for food production as reduction in labour mobility and supply chain disruption forces us to reorganise around localised production. Compounded with extreme soil degradation, biodiversity loss and exploitation of rural populations by industrial monocultures, there is a critical need to redesign food production.
Rather than proposing a return to rural farming communities we would like to examine the possibilities of folding food production into our 21st century everyday lives, an hour of office gardening here, an afternoon of rooftop planting there. In this way we might balance the physical needs of our society with responsibilities to communities across the world who are currently exploited by global agriculutral systems.
In South Korea private building developments over a certain size must allocate 1% of their budget to art sculptures. These sculptures are designed to serve a cultural purpose for the public, with the space they inhabit zoned as such. In reality they are a mere formality of large building projects, offering little in the way of public benefit.
Digging deeper we learnt that contracts to install these sculptures are largely controlled by a group of agencies who gain commission for the recommendation of artists from a small pool. This method of artistic production could be interpreted as beauracorporate art, realised in the realm of risk models and budgeting spreadsheets rather than artistic expression and social critique. This points to a common theme in the cities of today, the ongoing privatisation of what was once public space.
Pioneered by Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s, this approach to farming has grown in popularity greatly over the last 100 years. With a holistic approach to the farm, not focusing simply on efficiency and output, it is possible to create a balanced ecosystem that not only provides food for humans but also a supportive environment for other species of flora and fauna. The approach also features a strong element of education and interactivity between consumers and producers, hoping to encourage more people to become prosumers in their respective food chains.
As the seasons become more erratic and unpredictable food security is threatened, one hi tech response to this has been the development of urban smart farms which can provide a steady supply of certain fruits and vegetables year round. Using soil free growing systems with artificial light and climate control is possible to maintain optimal growing conditions over long periods, even underground. This solution has seen a lot of investment in recent years and the technology is rapidly improving, but there are still challenges to overcome around crop diversity and energy use.
Busy city dwellers often don’t have enough time to engage with growing food on a regular basis, the establishment of collective farms where a group of people can be responsible for each other's plants is a successful way to mitigate the risks involved. They also provide a community around growing food, which strengthens the social fabric of cities