Cultivating Companionship A conversation about cornfields and communities. (2024)

Lina Maria Hülsmann

About this exposition

Our connection to the land is crucial, yet the Anthropocene mindset alienated us from being part of nature. This research paper is a thorough report of fieldwork, map studies, interviews, experiments and theories related to the domain of philosophy, biology, anthropology, sociology and ecology. By consulting a variety of literature resources of renowned thinkers like Donna Haraway, Arturo Escobar and Bruno Latour you share with them to envision the Anthropocene as a fundamental crisis of modernity with an emphasis on the human detachment from nature. Working with the corn plant as a symbol of Anthropocene agriculture, this thesis deals with the topics of community and the importance to embrace biodiversity. Based on a case study in Bersenbrück, a small town in North-West Germany, I raise the alarm about one of the most disputable topics in today’s agriculture industry: monoculture. Since the 1960s the landscape has been dominated by maize being the main cause for the transition from small-scale, self-sufficient farming towards the industrialized production of cornfields. The origins of the cultivation of the maize was regarded to bind together families and communities, today it has a devastating effect on bio-diversity. On a larger scale maize appears to enforce a capitalist structure of food production and is considered one of the largest contributors to the emission of climate change. Further, the research leads to opportunities that evolve out of the current agricultural situation. Material experiments with a waste product of monoculture-maize plantations, testify how a deep interest and curiosity can evolve into spatial design and encompass a ‘new level of esteem’. These spatial and material proposals allow the formation of new relationships between humans and nature, between communities and ecosystems. To ‘cultivating companionship’ expresses optimism and call-to-action in order to contribute to a resilient future where participation as a form of civic engagement and social solidarity is its main core. The concept of companionship became also a tool that results from empathy, sensitivity, care and compassion, building op on a critical lens, aiming to work together within the situation, the site and the inhabitants.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsHuman-nature relationship, biobased materials, community, post-antropocentric, Optimistic Criticism
last modified07/02/2024
share statusshared with registered RC users
copyrightLina M. Huelsmann
licenseAll rights reserved
published inRoyal Academy of Art, The Hague
portal issue1. Publications 2023

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