Their imaginative, environmentally conscious projects provoke audiences to question the many ways that humans try to control nature, or imagine themselves as separate from it. Their work can be described as social sculpture, a type of making that activates art’s potential to change society. Futurefarmers: Out of Place, in Place surveys their practice to date, and includes what they call a new “speculative fog-harvesting machine,” a live project to be constructed and activated over the course of the exhibition. This exhibition is part of YBCA’s ongoing Changing the Ratio initiative. Through 2019, more than 70 percent of YBCA’s planned exhibitions are solo shows featuring the work of female artists.
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Futurefarmers is a group of diverse practitioners aligned through an interest in making work that is relevant to the time and place surrounding us. Founded in 1995, the design studio serves as a platform to support art projects, an artist in residence program, and our research interests. We are artists, researchers, designers, architects, scientists, and farmers with a common interest in creating frameworks for exchange that catalyze moments of “not knowing.”
While we collaborate with scientists and are interested in scientific inquiry, we want to ask questions more openly. Through participatory projects, we create spaces and experiences where the logic of a situation disappears—encounters occur that broaden, rather than narrow perspectives, i.e. reductionist science.
We use various media to create work that has the potential to destabilize logics of “certainty.” We deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation, and rural farming networks to visualize and understand their intrinsic logics. Through this disassembly new narratives emerge that reconfigure the principles that once dominated these systems. Our work often provides a playful entry point and tools for participants to gain insight into deeper fields of inquiry—not only to imagine, but to participate in and initiate change in the places we live.
Futurefarmers’ work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York; MAXXI | Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; the New York Hall of Science; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Futurefarmers: Out of Place, in Place is organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and curated by Lucía Sanromán, director of visual arts.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.
YBCA Programs are made possible in part by: The James Irvine Foundation.
Additional Funding for YBCA Programs: National Endowment for the Arts, Abundance Foundation, Grosvenor, and Members of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
YBCA Exhibitions are made possible in part by: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Panta Rhea Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellows Program, and Meridee Moore and Kevin King.
Futurefarmers: Out of Place, in Place is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional support is provided by Changing the Ratio Circle of Advisors: Berit Ashla, Diana Cohn, Jennifer C. Haas Fund, Rekha Patel, Catalina Ruiz-Healy and Jonathan Kevles, Vicki Shipkowitz, Meg Spriggs, and Anonymous.
Lead Image: Futurefarmers, This is Not a Trojan Horse, 2010. Courtesy Futurefarmers.