Futurefarmers is a group of artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists and farmers, who share a common intention to initiate tangible change in the here and now. Established in 1995, their participatory projects have deconstructed systems including food policies, public transportation and rural farming networks, and aim to provide participants with concrete tools for change-making.
In 2016, Futurefarmers embarked upon Seed Journey, a year-long seafaring expedition that moved an inventory of ancient grains from Oslo to Istanbul aboard RS 10 Christiana, an 1895 wooden rescue sailboat, crewed by 22 artists, anthropologists, biologists, bakers, activists, sailors and farmers. The ship crossed 5000 nautical miles, and collected 59 new varieties of grains, ranging from seeds saved during the 1941 Siege of Leningrad, to Finnish Rye discovered between the floorboards of an abandoned sauna in Hamar, Norway.
Docking and sharing its research with host institutions in Europe, the Middle East, and now Asia, the project aims to encourage knowledge exchange around food production in a world where farmers’ rights and seed stocks are fast disappearing, with 75% of all food now generated from just twelve plants and five animal species. This radical homogenisation is a result of the industrialisation of agriculture, and is devastating biodiversity and global health, as well as indigenous cultures and farming skills.
For Taipei Biennial, Futurefarmers members, Lode Vranken, Amy Franceschini and Marthe van Dessel have transported Seed Journey’s archive to the galleries, contextualised by documentation of its international travels since 2016. In Taipei, a metropolitan city entirely surrounded by mountains which are home to numerous Indigenous groups, the work reflects upon the challenge of sustaining cultural practices in the midst of urban development.
Futurefarmers, founded in San Francisco in 1995.
Amy Franceschini, born 1970 in California, USA, lives and works in San Francisco and Gent.
Lode Vranken, born 1962 in Belgium, lives and works in Gent.
Marthe van Dessel, born 1976 in Belgium, lives and works in Antwerp.