Rem Koolhaas and AMO explore change in the world’s non-urban territories in the exhibition ‘Countryside, The Future’

Guggenheim-Laurian-Ghinitoiu-courtesy-AMO 3

Rem Koolhaas and AMO explore change in the world’s non-urban territories in the exhibition ‘Countryside, The Future’

Until February 2021 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum features the exhibition ‘Countryside, The Future‘, organized in collaboration with architect Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, director of AMO, the think tank of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture.

cover image: Countryside, The Future. Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO

In June of 2014, the UN released World Urbanization Prospects, a report that announced that half of all humankind now lived in cities, and stated that “managing urban areas has become one of the most important development challenges of the twenty-first century.”
This heralded a global focus on sustainable urbanization that ignored the other half of the world’s population living in rural conditions, neglecting not just their challenges but also exciting and innovative solutions to modernity.
This exhibition is an attempt at rectification, and its content is drawn from a large consortium of collaborators representing diverse global geographies and a broad range of expertise.
A unique exhibition for the Guggenheim Museum, ‘Countryside, The Future’ contests the assumption that ever-increasing urbanization is inevitable, exploring radical changes in the rural, remote, and wild territories collectively identified here as “countryside,” or the 98% of the Earth’s surface not occupied by cities.
A central thesis of the exhibition is that our current form of urban life has necessitated the organization, abstraction, and automation of the countryside at an unprecedented scale. Data storage, fulfillment centers, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, robotic automation, economic innovation, worker migration, and the private purchase of land for ecological preservation are in many cases more actively explored and experimented within the countryside than the city. The impact of global warming on specific countryside conditions underlies much of the show. In Siberia, the thawing of permafrost is dramatically transforming the landscape and releasing increasing amounts of methane with potentially catastrophic consequences.
Rem Koolhaas: “In the past decade, I have noticed that while much of our energies and intelligence have been focused on the urban areas of the world, the countryside has changed dramatically under the influence of global warming, the market economy, American tech companies, African and European initiatives, Chinese politics, and other forces. This story is largely untold, and it is particularly meaningful for AMO to present it in one of the world’s great museums in one of the world’s densest cities.”

Overview of Countryside, The Future
As the exhibition unfolds, it addresses questions about the development and role of the countryside over time: What was the countryside historically, what did the major political figures of the twentieth century prepare for us, what is the current condition, what needs to be done for the future, and in what ways could this take shape? Histories and transformations of the countryside are illustrated along with the six levels of the rotunda’s ramp, each level with its own theme. Designed by AMO/Koolhaas and graphic designer Irma Boom in collaboration with the Guggenheim’s exhibition and graphic design staff, this mix of imagery, films, archival materials, wallpaper graphics, a printed curtain, objects, text, reproduced artworks, and robotic sculptures present an unfolding narrative of case studies contextualized by a broad array of voices.

Countryside, The Future
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – Rotunda
1071 Fifth Ave, New York, NY
February 20, 2020 / February 14, 2021

Countryside, The Future – installation views
Images courtesy of Salomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Countryside, The Future




above:  Countryside, The Future, installation views
Photo: David Heald, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

Guggenheim-Laurian-Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 4

Guggenheim-Laurian-Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 16

Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 12

Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 14

Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 15

Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 17

Guggenheim-Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO 21

above: Countryside, The Future. Laurian Ghinitoiu courtesy AMO


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