Urban Farm Depicted in Architectural Installation

July 19, 2008 at 12:05 am 1 comment

Rural farms have long been depicted in paintings and art, but now urban farms are beginning to get their due.  To liven up its summer fun “Warm-Up” parties, the Museum of Modern Art’s P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City fashioned its courtyard into an urban farm.  Urban Farm 1 – the official name of the courtyard installation – draws upon the concept of a flying carpet and is made up of cardboard tubes, each filled with different vegetables, everything from beets and spinach to kale and cucumbers.     

The tubes are arranged in descending order, forming a carpet that with a little imagination – and a few drinks – can be visualized as “flying into” the courtyard.  The installation is a treat, with a pool area that allows visitors to look up at the rising slope of vegetables reaching infinitely into the sky (and yes, the towering Citibank building in the background). It also has places to sit under the tubes of vegetables and children’s stations with recorded sounds and videos of farm animals.

Urban Farm 1 features cardboard tubes with different vegetables, everything from beets to kale and cucumbers.

Urban Farm 1 features cardboard tubes with different vegetables, everything from beets to kale and cucumbers.







What does it all mean? It’s open to interpretation, but for me the installation was filled with messages about playfulness and imagining or recapturing a fading world.  Here’s how the architects of the installation described their work:  “P.F. 1 is an architectural and urban manifesto to engage play and reinvent our cities, and our world, once again.” 

In a poster on one of the courtyard walls, the museum’s curator put it this way:  “In our post-industrial age of information, customization and individual expression, the most exciting and promising developments are no longer those of mass production but of local interventions.”

Urban Farm 1 points out that those interventions need to begin in cities, the “laboratories of experimentation.”  Whatever interpretation one walks away with, one thing seems clear: urban farms will be getting more attention and play a bigger role in food production in the future.

Entry filed under: Food and Art, Urban Agriculture. Tags: , , , .

Too Much of a Good Thing Revisited Do Your Fieldwork

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Bronx Babe  |  July 19, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Wow, how cool is that. Can you really grow vegetables in cardboard tubes? Might be cheaper than planting ’em in pots. Plus the tubes are probably way lighter to carry.

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