3269 Utrecht Manifest NO. 4: A Working Landscape, 2012

: Maartje Benders

Stichting Utrecht Biλnnale

Utrecht Manifest is a bi-annual cultural event in and around the Dutch city of Utrecht. For each edition the Stichting Utrecht Biënnale invites an art director to investigate the social relevance of design in a curated program.

Under art direction of Jurgen Bey, this years’ biennial for social design examined the worklandscape in the Utrecht area of Rotsoord, through various viewpoints. Through four main projects, each curated by a selected designer, we investigated the urban area under the main theme of 'A Working Landscape'.

‘How do you expose the potential of a specific urban area?’ we asked ourselves. Between May and July 2012, we settled in the area and former industrial site Rotsoord was transformed into a work space. All four curators programmed exhibitions, debates, a help desk, workshops and organized field projects to activate the local potential. A taste of Rotsoord’s possibilities for food production is found in 'Edible Landscape', by Ester van de Wiel. 'The Networked Landscape' by Sophie Krier, examined cross-pollinations of knowledge and skills. Clever and remarkable ways of production were exhibited by Studio Maarten Kolk & Guus Kusters in the exhibition 'Helpdesk Rotsoord'; which also served as food for discourse. After tasting Rotsoord beer and pesto, alphabet parades, lectures, car blessings and drive-thru-debates, and intensively working with designers, local experts, residents and businesses, this years’ biennial closed with telling results and revealing insights in the local urban fabric. This UM went beyond temporary activities and produced various new concepts, permanent installations and designs that will be further developed as a product. To analyze of the potential of the urban landscape as a living, learning and working domain, two publications were made.The first work magazine is available as a PDF on the UM-website, a second publication will be released in 2013. Please visit the website www.utrechtmanifest.nl to find out more about UM's 'A Working Landscape'. Here, the exhibition and work space can still be visited in a virtual tour.