[bracket] is an annual publication documenting issues overlooked yet central to our cultural milieu that have evolved out of the new disciplinary territory at the intersection of architecture, landscape, urbanism and, now, the internet. It is no coincidence that the professional term architect can also now refer to information architects, and that the word community can also now refer to an online community. [bracket] is a publishing platform for ideas charting the complex overlap of the sphere of architecture and online social spheres.
Seeking new voices and talent, [bracket] is structured around an open call for entries. The series will look at thematics in our age of globalization that are shaping the built environment in radically significant and yet unexpected ways.
[bracket] would like to thank the Graham Foundation for support.
The first edition of [bracket] is centered around the theme of farming. Once merely understood in terms of agriculture, today information, energy, labour, and landscape, among others, can be farmed. Farming harnesses the efficiency of collectivity and community. Whether cultivating land, harvesting resources, extracting energy or delegating labor, farming reveals the interdependencies of our globalized world. Simultaneously, farming represents the local gesture, the productive landscape, and the alternative economy. The processes of farming are mutable, parametric, and efficient. From terraforming to foodsheds to crowdsourcing, farming often involves the management of the natural mediated by the technologic. Farming, beyond its most common agricultural understanding is the modification of infrastructure, urbanisms, architectures, and landscapes toward a privileging of production.
With a global food crisis looming, even the traditional farm’s impact on land, resources, and economics is in need of re-visioning. Other innovations have led to a growing number of people investing in shares of a local farmer’s crop, reducing trips to the supermarket and the cost of shipping food. Energy farming has seen immense diversification in the last decade with essential innovations in renewable energies such as wave farms, wind, tidal, solar, and even piezoelectrical. Investment in wind power alone rose from an $8 billion per year plateau from 2002-2004 to more than $18 billion annually on average for 2008-2010, with most of the growth in North America and Asia. Information farming has also seen an incredible rise in the last 5 years and, in fact, could be architecture’s newest building typology, the “data campus.” Google recently completed a 30-acre server farm in Oregon on converted agricultural land. And Yahoo has recently purchased 50 acres of land in Quincy, Washington for a massive internet data-processing facility.
What are the logistics governing these examples of farming? How has technology informed the public realm of these processes? How are different forms of farming modifying our regions, cities, buildings, and landscapes?
Fish farms, server farms, energy farms, urban farms, information farms, wikipedia, facebook; our contemporary daily life owes so much to the resourceful, convenient intelligence of collectivity. How is it shaping or how could it shape our cities and buildings? How are these developments shaping our natural environment? And what are new potentials for these typologies? These are the issues and questions that designers and writers are asked to respond to.