SOIL FOR LIFE 2050
GRIP contributed to the 6th Tallinn Architecture Biennale (TAB), titled “Edible; Or, The Architecture of Metabolism”. TAB 2022 was chosen as one of the TOP architecture events of 2022 by Dezeen and Archdaily.
About the Exhibition:
– Edible; Or, The Architecture of Metabolism –
During the pandemic, the question of ‘where our food comes from’ has become critical. The fragility of our production processes and the mobility networks that transport commodities and food, urge new forms of local resources production and the design of circular economies. The main objective of TAB2022 is to revise and reimagine the logic of circular economy and the ways in which it migrates to the fields of design, architecture, and the production of urban environments. Today, within the context of interconnected global crises, namely the climate emergency, the public health crisis and social inequity, the idea of a world where resources are recirculated is vital for planetary habitability. Yet, this question needs to be addressed as a creative, multidimensional, design problem that reflects the aesthetic and cultural qualities of spaces as productive environments in their full lifecycles: from the moment of extraction to the moment of demolition. The objective of this biennial was not only to display technological instrumentality, but also to reveal how architecture constructs, distributes, and leverages power via material upcycling, interspecies alliances, biopolitics and incremental processes.
GRIP, in collaboration with Alfredo Brillembourg, contributed with a manifesto titled “Soil for Life 2050”, which we here present an excerpt of:
(a micro-agro network for Cape Town South Africa)
Food equality for 2050 is one of the main justice challenges of our time. We could say that this is a realizable MANIFESTO of a rhizome concept, describing a nonlinear network of urban farming in the informal settlements. Informalism is not a school nor a tendency, but rather a way of conceptualizing existence, including life, and not seeing existence through the same modernist lens as before. This is a calling for community networks of infrastructure to happen on the ground. Understanding the fragments of space left over post-Apartheid South Africa, our project works on expanding successful real experiences with materials and a humble attitude by recovering a genuine imagination, as described below:
- Food inequality is one of the main justice challenges of our time. We live in a world where as of today 1/3 of the world’s population does not have access to adequate food and around 800 million people face hunger.
- The global food system, with its production, distribution and consumption patterns, is linked to inequalities in myriads of ways as it contributes to malnutrition, hunger, worsening health conditions, social stratification and environmental degradation, among others, as well as perpetuating these inequalities. New visions for more sustainable and equal food systems are required along with innovative and transformative tools that can reframe them.
- New visions of future food systems must open urban space for creating and building food procurement possibilities in local environments, as well as open space for thinking and imagining alternative possibilities for food systems that incorporate and consider diversity, solidarity, ecological limits and social justice.
- Food should be understood not only as a commodity and a source of nutrition, but also as a substance of care, health, mediator of social, political and economic relations, as well as a possible source of conflicts, inequalities and injustices. Food is not neutral, and it has different meaning in specific contexts as, for example, food production in many places include a history of oppression including plantation economy and immigrant labour exploitation. Therefore, a more broad and complex approach towards perceptions and understandings of food should be applied enabling us to better apprehend the role of food in our modes of living and allowing us to move beyond the neoliberal politics of value that define food as a pure commodity.
- Move beyond the dichotomy of human and non-human spaces; Urban agriculture brings nature into the urban Anthropocene environments and moving beyond such dualisms of human and non-human worlds allows us to apply a more holistic understanding of the environment around us.
- It is time for the City planners to recognize its fundamental mission, which is to engage in creative freedom of the informal settlements
- Everyone should be able to build, and as long as this freedom to build does not exist, the present-day planned architecture cannot be considered art at all.
- It is time to unlock the spaces of the city for an agro-food network that would also include the non-wealthy, e.g. as an alternative to the many curated networks of for instance organic food that caters to the upper middle class and other elites.
TAB 2022 took place September – November 2022, with the opening week on the 7th–11th of September. The exhibition EDIBLE at Estonian Museum of Architecture is open until November 20th. TAB 2022 was curated by Lydia Kallipoliti, Areti Markopoulou in collaboration with Chief Local Advisor Ivan Sergejev.
 The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021, FAO.
 Annual Review 2020, World Food Program.