While the newest LandRush chapter Dry West was exhibited at the COALMINE in Winterthur we opened a parallel installation at the Photobastei in Zurich which showed the four other chapters from Ethiopia, Iowa, Brazil and Germany:
The Farm – Ethiopia (2011/12)
GPS-controlled tractors replace wooden ploughs and machetes in Ethiopia. In the remote area of Gambela, the Ethiopian government plans to lease 42 percent of the surface to foreign investors and forces small farmers and pastoralist villages from their land. Indian investor Ram Karuturi wants to build “the most modern farm in the world”. He envisions schools, hospitals, cinemas, entire cities sprouting out of the ground. On a hundred-kilometer stretch of land, an almost untouched ecosystem is being reshaped and parts of the Gambela National Park were unceremoniously moved.
The Road – Brazil (2012)
In western Brazil, the extension of the Soy Highway drives the agricultural boom of Mato Grosso’s huge industrial farms ever deeper into the Amazon basin. The road opens up the wilderness for unfathomable wealth, work, education, and laws. The price for this dream is monoculture, pesticides, and the disappearance of nature. The Soy Highway is a rift that runs through the Brazilian rainforest—and through the minds of the people living close to it.
Family Affairs – Iowa (2013/14)
After decades of hardship and the young generation leaving for the cities, ethanol brings new hope of a profitable farming to Iowa’s family farms. The production of corn ethanol opens up new lucrative markets, pushes up agricultural profits and land prices. Critics claim that ethanol diverts corn from the food cycle and, in conjunction with speculation, boosts global grain prices on futures markets.
Full Circle – East Germany (since 2014)
Despite a booming demand for organic products in Germany organic farmers struggle to stay profitable. Heavy subsidies for large scale meat producers and corn grown for bio gas production let land prices soar.
The dual exhibition approach offered an interesting tension and insight into the complexities of todays food production realities. For the first time the complete current state of the LandRush project was tangible.