Naturens Parti @ DAC


Naturens Parti @ DAC

  • LocationDAC - Dansk Arkitektur Center
  • ProgramExhibition
  • Year2022
  • FundingDAC, Realdania, Statens Kunstfond, Danmarks Nationlbanks Jubilæumsfond

Four collages and four audio artworks transport you to a green Utopia in the year 2070, where humans and nature have finally achieved a symbiotic balance and found faith in a shared future.

Join an expedition through robot-built cities and lush landscapes. Experience an elite colony on Mars and a machine that can generate nature. Open Platform’s works create more questions than answers. Should we give up on Earth and move into outer space? Is the planet’s savior a superhero disguised as an architect?

DAC 2022



Humans and nature exist in total balance. This influences every aspect of life and leads to profound changes in how we produce energy and food, in our approach to politics, and in the way we settle and live.
A global power grid based solely on renewable energy connects inhabited areas. The unbroken circular patterns of the network define the boundaries of growth.
A world zoning law applies to both plan and section: Build only in the in-between spaces. This rule guarantees that the human footprint never exceeds 7.5% of Earth’s land surface, leaving at least 92.5% to wild nature.
The network is managed by The United Natures and continual computations, carried out by Artificial Intelligence, ensure the equal distribution of resources across the globe.
New cities are built on giant power banks that supply energy-consuming industry. Ancient cities worthy of preservation serve as keepers of memory. Here, young people can briefly experience the carefree metropolitan life of their grandparents’ youth.Finally, we acknowledge that humans and nature are not opposites, and for the first timein almost a century an idea begins to spread across the planet: the belief that there may be a future after all.

Humans are only allowed to build in the gap between perfect circles of nature


Life on Mars

“Isn’t it fantastic?” Ms. Man chirps, and without waiting for an answer continues, “Can you believe that Paradise was right under our noses the whole time?”
Nothing has been under her decent nose-job the whole time. It has taken a club of billionaires, an army of architects, engineers and experts, plus a large construction crew several decades to plan and complete The Colony.
Back on Earth, Ms. Man was a hardboiled, moneymaking business woman. Here on Mars, all of her life’s savings would barely stretch to cover a few years’ stay and a return ticket to Earth. Who knows what state the Earth is in? Ms. Man certainly did her fair share of destruction, and she has no desire to return. Intending to spend the rest of her days here, on the red planet, she has entered an infinity contract with an oligarch, who has made sure that if he is to spend the rest of his life in a greenhouse in space, at least there will be plenty of female company. In all shapes and sizes. It could have been a sheik, but she’s just not into desert-domes.
Ms. Man sips her wine. It’s full-bodied and rare. She closes her eyes and enjoys the noble rot. Then she tunes in on the sounds of the old world; tranquil ocean, rain drops, rustling leaves, wind in the grass, swamp-crickets and frogs, sometimes even distant traffic. Versatile, just like the Host promised. There are days when all she does is try to pinpoint the transitions between the sound moods or to find the moment when the whole sound series loops. Ms. Man is secretly searching for imperfection. But she finds no flaws in life on Mars.
On Earth, Ms. Man made spec housing for average people. Habitats in sharp contrast to her present space-paradise-for-the-elite. Thank God, they never found life on Mars. The thought takes her back to shouting along to The Colony’s signature song in the karaoke bar the other night – Bowie’s “Life on Mars?.” Or was it last week? She is losing her sense of time. Living in a two-season dome, where spring and summer float together, does that to you.
Ms. Man was among the first to emigrate, which worried her family and friends. Especially her siblings, who were all unable to say goodbye with a mix of pity and unnecessary anxiety in their eyes. Early settlers had to quarantine and train for space on Elon’s Island – an immigration station, orbiting Mars. The artificial planet, made from upcycled space junk, closed down after the first generation of Hybrid Sapiens became able to travel in individual hydrogel skins, drifting on the natural energy streams of the Universe.
In a world where evolution is no longer driven by natural processes, Ms. Man considers herself genuine. She doesn’t envy the new, optimized generation, with their androgynous bodies, bred to perform and survive. To her, life on Mars is intoxicating and first and foremost safe. Satellites constantly watch over you. Perhaps it’s the thought of being monitored that gives her a sudden unpleasant sensation. As if someone is watching her right at this moment.
. . .
The Martian observes the geodesic domes, lined up like exotic souvenir snow globes from various destinations. A non-visible extraterrestrial, of course, has no comprehension of souvenirs or snow globes. The alien lifeform inside the structures – caught like insects in killing jars – come from the larger planet in the next orbit. Lately, its launchings of specimens into space have intensified. Looking at their beautiful blue-green planet, the Martian has to ask itself: Why?

The machine converts city into nature


Machina Natura

Ava and Adam, talented twins, are rounding up a 30-minute presentation and three years of architecture studies. They reveal a grandiose planet-saving plan to a stunned audience.
“It’s a transformation machine,” they explain, presenting a Leonardo da Vinci-like invention that slowly eats run-down cities and spits out virgin nature.
“It’s a gamechanger,” their teacher proudly proclaims, while the examiner, an innate skeptic, is more reluctant.
“It’s a fantasy,” the realist states in a somewhat brusque tone. Agreeing, however, that the World needs imagination and admits to being captivated by the boldness. A wave of relief spreads across the auditorium and erupts into applause. The twins graduate with honors. And their nature-loving parents remind them to work for a cause, not for applause, while their classmates find themselves caught between admiration and envy.
. . .
Ava and Adam, triumphant twins, celebrate their first commission. A famous property developer, known for being an incubator for young startups, has stumbled upon their final project and spotted their talent. Now, the twins are very much in vogue.
“Maybe I don’t see talent, maybe I see innocence?” their client (a parasite disguised as a host) says, while the twins sign a contract to design the biggest development in the country, perhaps even the biggest on the continent. The twins smile similar ear-to-ear smiles.
There’s a rumor that the twins were conjoined at birth. Since nonidentical twins cannot be conjoined, it’s just tittle-tattle adding to the mystique that already surrounds two such similar and synchronic individuals. Obviously, architecture conjoins them. Fuses them together in works and visions and a vigorous will to make the world a better place. Their opposite-gender twinship is believed to provide a rare aspect of fifty-fifty fairness that applies to anything you could possibly imagine.
Paradoxically, their success turns the twins into experts in transforming beautiful landscapes into dense suburban city areas. Who would have thought? If people protest the barrenness and desolation of the work, a client will come to their rescue and blame the criticism on professional jealousy,
“You cannot argue with success,” one developer grins, while another struggles to produce a Botox smile and settles for an asymmetrical smirk. The twins no longer smile. They have acquired a jovial jargon in which words like architecture and aesthetics no longer exist.
. . .
Ava and Adam, constant companions, are rounding up a 30-minute presentation and a lifelong career. As the world celebrates that human population on Mars has reached its first million, the twins launch their final project. It really is their only project. Diligently completing every given Sisyphean task, while building expertise in executing mega-projects and carefully avoiding extinction, they’ve patiently and secretly been experimenting with the worlds of nature and materials.
“It’s a transformation machine,” they explain, in a déjà vu moment, revealing that they’ve always regarded the large-scale speculation projects as material banks for the future.
The machine converts city into nature and breathes new life into the human-made debris by blending it with nature-made materials that can be used for 3D printing. An enthusiastic critique compares the technique to that of tearing out an old wall-to-wall carpet only to find a better floor, in perfect condition, underneath. The review ascends to praise, “The twins have found a formula that not only saves the planet, but makes Earth a better place!”


Into the circle

We move rapidly on foot through the vertical city, letting gravity do the work by pulling us downward. I deliberately choose a partisan route, which takes us through hidden gardens and little lush landscapes that my companion didn’t know existed.
“How do you find these places?” she asks.
“By getting lost.” My response triggers a put-on smile.
Our city is a battery that stores energy. It’s compact and created from algorithms inspired by nature. Architects and engineers developed the system that artificial intelligence took over. Once it was running entirely on data, the city became self-generating. Built by robots in a hybrid material of mycelium and recycled materials, the living construction is resilient to any climate condition. Today, the lower part is covered in plants creeping through the circles. One day, the entire city could be under the sea.
I promised to take her into a circle. It’s her first visit to one. Why, I don’t know. In the early morning, before we started descending, she told me, that she finds our city brown and uninspiring,
“Whenever I see a heritage site, all I can think about is how to make architecture great again.”
I understand her, but I disagree. I remind her that many buildings of the past were brown and unexciting. Her idea of architecture is nostalgic. It’s a common viewpoint that’s based on city life as she knows it. That’s why I have to bring her into the wild.
The Circles are banks of nature, key to keeping our planet healthy, and a dominant element in the global grid that connects the whole world. A net of big loops of transportation and distribution. Free energy for everyone – everywhere. Cities grow between the circles. Humans and Nature share this interspace. But inside the Circles, Humanity can only be guest of Nature.
“Do you think it’s fair that we’re stuck in the gap?” she asks me. I answer the question with a question, “Do you really think we’re stuck in the gap?”
As we cross the plant-covered transportation track, a distant sound catches her ear – swoosh, swoosh. It’s the blades of giant windmills connected to the hyperloop. Once inside a circle, we are both overwhelmed with the smells, the colors, the sounds and the scenes of the wilderness. She shudders at the sight of a skull, and shrieks as a naked, unashamed being swings from branch to branch above us. Later, as we linger on a beautiful bridge of living tree roots, she smiles at me. And for the first time, the smile reaches her eyes.
By the end of the day, we’re exhausted. I suggest that we stay over the night. We could find a wooden shelter, or make a bivouac from the capes I brought. Her pupils dilate, and I know that she is not ready for a night in Nature. Instead, I put the vest on her, dressing her like a toddler.
“What is this?” She’s not uncomfortable with my action, but curious.
“Wait and see.” I quickly gear up myself.
“Come with me!” I stretch out my hand and she grabs it trustfully.
Tonight we won’t take cover under our capes. We will wear them as wings that carry us back to her comfort zone. The sky is starry and magnificent, and as we silently ascend, we see the world below unfold before our eyes. An audible gasp escapes her lips. We look at the city and we look at each other. I see the change in her eyes. From up here, bathed in the light from the universe, the giant heap has a beauty all its own. It’s part of an ecosystem. You can’t compete with Nature. You have to fit in your habitat.


“No one ever really dies.”


Once upon a time, when I was a teenager (unable to control my morning grumpiness), a tree was still a tree, and my sister was still my sister. Every morning, I would try to avoid watching her consume her breakfast, repulsed by her biting and chewing the food. Her attempts to swallow silently only seemed to magnify the sounds and my annoyance. Every morning, the same sad ritual. It wasn’t her. It was me. Until the morning when everything changed…
I hear the skin rash before I see it. Itch, itch. Nails on skin.
“Well, bon appetite!” I push my plate away in disgust.
“Sorry.” Another itch. I feel an eye roll coming on, but stop it halfway when I see her skin.
“Oh my God!”
”Please stay!” she says in a cracked voice, mistaking my outburst for revulsion. She hates to eat alone.
“Shush, let me have a look.” I inspect her cheek so close that I can feel her warm breath on my face. Oddly odorless. Just a subtle scent of morning, homeliness and my perfect little sister.
As I reach out, her back stiffens a bit. Is she actually shy? I feel a pang of guilt. I’m a wicked sister. To compensate, my fingertips touch her as gently as possible. The skin feels hard and bumpy. In fact, it no longer feels or looks like skin. Pleased by the soft stroke and the fact that my distaste is turning into concern, she smiles gratefully.
An hour later, our doctor’s friendly smile turns into a frown of fear. Like everyone else, Doc wants Mrs. Wood’s opinion. To others she’s a leader, to us she’s Mom. The nickname Wood stuck from her years as a Forest Minister. Back then, she was a fixer, who brought balance back after forest illegality, forest fires or storms. Now, she defends our planet from toxic governments and corporate practices. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, Sis is a clone of Mom.
“It’s E.V.” the doctor concludes, “Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis, better known as the Treeman syndrome.” The search engines display images of skin disorders and bark-like deformations. Unfortunately, the doctor is mistaken. But by the time the dermatology experts give up, my sister is more tree than human. Rapid in onset and non-curable, the virus spreads. It strikes at random, but the few infected are all goodhearted, righteous people. Different types of human beings mutating into different species of trees. Worldwide.
At the age of 16, my sister is a beautiful nine-foot tall young pine.
“Please plant me in the forest,” she says serenely.
“You’ll be safer in the garden, Honey. You can connect through the root net,” Mom urges.
“I’m more useful in the forest. We can save the planet!” Sis says. But she is really saying farewell, and a dark shadow of guilt crosses Mom’s face. The paradox that the offspring of Mrs. Wood is patient zero torments her. And me, I hate the thought of being left alone.
On the day of her final transformation, we hug my sister madly. Like tree huggers fighting for life or death. She assures us that the web of Nature and Man-trees is cosmic.
“Don’t lie to us Pinocchio.” Dad sniffs, resorting to dark humor in all his powerlessness...
Once upon a time, mutations opened a portal and created a strong, new connectedness between Nature and Human Nature. We became animists, believing that everything has a spirit. And people crafted beautiful jewelry and everlasting furniture from the wood of their loved ones.
“If you leave the tree stump, when you cut me, I’ll stay connected to the web,” my sister taught us, before softly sharing, “No one ever really dies.”