Public Art (Now): Claire Doherty talks to Amy Franceschini (Futurefarmers)

Further reading:
Text extract from – Futurefarmers, Flatbread Society, Oslo, Norway (2013 – ongoing) – in Claire Doherty’s edited volume Out of Time, Out of Place, Public Art (Now).

Bjørvika, Oslo’s former container port, was built on reclaimed land adjacent to the founding medieval settlement of the city. As part development named Fjord City (1980s and approved in 2003), Bjørvika is undergoing radical structural change. This involves the relocation of the central highway under the fjord, the construction of a central business district and thousands of new waterfront apartments, and the dedication of public spaces woven between those new buildings as allmenningen (commons). The development is highly contested. ‘Slow Space’, Situations’ vision for the permanent programme, was developed from 2010 as part of the developer Bjørvika Utvikling’s progressive approach to public art commissioning, along with the ongoing support of the Oslo Konsthall. Enter Futurefarmers, a network of artists, researchers, designers, farmers, scientists and engineers, whose common interest is in creating work that challenges current social, political and economic systems. Futurefarmers deconstruct systems such as food policies, public transportation and rural farming networks to consider alternative ways of living.

Flatbread Society, conceived by Futurefarmers including Amy Franceschini, Stijn Schiffeleers, Lode Vranken and Marthe Vandessel, grew as a constellation of farmers, oven builders, astronomers, artists, soil scientists and bakers through conversations and actions in Oslo and elsewhere from 2011. The physical home of Flatbread Society is an unpromising site on Loallmenningen, one of the Bjørvika commons under the road tunnel’s ventilation shafts – the harbour’s twin towers between the fjord and the medieval park. Futurefarmers formed Flatbread Society – a proposition to build a public baking facility housed within an experimental architectural structure – as the organizing principle of their project in Oslo, through which they environmentally respectful form of grain production and cultivation. The change in land use at Loallmenningen was signalled by a parallel project – Herligheten – in which one hundred allotment beds were given away to Oslo residents.

Out of Time, Out of Place, Public Art (Now) is available to buy now for £29.99.

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