Exhibition of countryside around the world opens at UN headquarters

An exhibition about the changing countryside, co-curated by Rem Koolhaas, opened at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York last week. The publicly accessible exhibition consists of a series panels featuring questions and images illustrating rural transformations of different kinds, from Siberian permafrost to high-tech Dutch greenhouses.

Image: Ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken
The exhibition outside the UN headquarters in New York.

In anticipation of the United Nations Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021, the exhibition focuses on topics such as agricultural innovation, ecological change, food production and food security.

Over half of the global population lives in cities. Today’s discourse is dominated by the ‘smart cities’ of the future, but what will rural areas look like in a couple of decades from now? And how will the production of food, still one of the countryside’s main ‘uses’, change?

The next revolution

The exhibition’s curators Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, director of the architectural think tank AMO, pose thought-provoking questions about the countryside’s role in the world: ‘What if the next revolution occurs in the countryside?' 

'The global coronavirus pandemic has made the world rethink how it works. Can the questions asked in the exhibition prompt reflection and action within one of the world’s leading international organisations?’

Yoka Brandt, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations: ‘I admire the creative and investigative way in which the AMO team triggers a public discussion about issues that are important to all of us such as ecological change, food security and agricultural innovation. In this way, it makes sure the conversation on the future of food continues, also outside the gates of the United Nations.’

Countryside at the United Nations is curated by Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, with the support of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations. The exhibition runs until 29 July 2021.