AMO / Rem Koolhaas: Countryside – A Report
AMO, Rem Koolhaas
Guggenheim & Taschen, 2020
From animals to robotization, climate change to migration, Rem Koolhaas presents a new collaborative project exploring how countryside everywhere is transforming beyond recognition. The official companion to the highly anticipated exhibition at New York’s Guggenheim Museum, this pocketbook gathers in-depth essays spanning from Fukushima to the Netherlands, Siberia to Uganda—an urgent dispatch from this long-neglected realm, revealing its radical potential for changing everything about how we live.
The rural, remote, and wild territories we call “countryside”, or the 98% of the earth’s surface not occupied by cities, make up the front line where today’s most powerful forces—climate and ecological devastation, migration, tech, demographic lurches—are playing out. Increasingly under a ‘Cartesian’ regime—gridded, mechanized, and optimized for maximal production—these sites are changing beyond recognition. In his latest publication, Rem Koolhaas explores the rapid and often hidden transformations underway across the Earth’s vast non-urban areas.
Countryside, A Report gathers travelogue essays exploring territories marked by global forces and experimentation at the edge of our consciousness: a test site near Fukushima, where the robots that will maintain Japan’s infrastructure and agriculture are tested; a greenhouse city in the Netherlands that may be the origin for the cosmology of today’s countryside; the rapidly thawing permafrost of Central Siberia, a region wrestling with the possibility of relocation; refugees populating dying villages in the German countryside and intersecting with climate change activists; habituated mountain gorillas confronting humans on ‘their’ territory in Uganda; the American Midwest, where industrial-scale farming operations are coming to grips with regenerative agriculture; and Chinese villages transformed into all-in-one factory, e-commerce stores, and fulfillment centers.