Dissident Gardens takes the garden as a starting point, as the quintessential arena where humanity’s desire to control its environment clashes with its fascination with the wild, untouched forces of nature. At the same time, in today’s age of digitisation and globalisation, gardens have become places to retreat, relax, rest and reflect. Gardens provide a home for the quiet, dedicated gardener, but non-human workers populate them too in today's fully automated greenhouse horticulture. The garden is a space where global stories and forms of labour, migration and experiments are challenged and redefined.
Technology and ecology are approached in Dissident Gardens as systems with not only a mutual field of tension, but also a mutual dependency. Het Nieuwe Instituut hopes to show how both systems have become intertwined, which has led to a radically new conception of the relationship between culture and nature. The programme demonstrates how the designer is part of this new relationship, and what considerations, choices and perhaps dissent can inform this position.
In Dissident Gardens, Het Nieuwe Instituut examines our current relationship with nature, the influence of technology and the role of the designer and architect as a researcher, games developer or activist. Here, contemporary issues under discussion include sustainability, materials innovation, the transformation of the designer and the domain of the design disciplines, as well as the impact of technology on our lives and our environment.