Breakfast Lectures with Marten Kuijpers
From its main port in Rotterdam, to its productive hinterlands of greenhouses and farms, the logic and relations that define the physical and social landscape of work and labor in the Netherlands are being redefined by machines, data and interfaces. Driven by efficiency, competitiveness and policies, the architectures of logistics, agriculture and horticulture, and the spatial organization of human and non-human labor are being reconceived. In his lecture, Marten Kuijpers, senior researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut, will reflect on these emerging architectures and urbanisms of automated labour, taking recent developments in the Dutch productive hinterlands as a departing point. As robots and smart systems take over the toil, working environments, the workers that populate them, and what they do, transform. Traditional port crane operators are now replaced by office workers seated in ergonomic control rooms and flexwork environments overseeing 24/7 the automated loading and unloading of containers. In the countryside, dairy and horticultural farmers manage ever-growing concerns through dashboards on desktop computers or smartphone apps. Sharing space with the robots, cows and temporary workers become data, and their bodies are managed as abstract components of a larger system, which can be accessed from anywhere by logging on the cloud.
Marten Kuijpers is an architect based in Rotterdam and senior researcher at Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute of architecture, design, and digital culture. Marten was curator of several exhibitions at the institute, including Sicco Mansholt. A Good European (2014), which examined the spatial implications of postwar agricultural policies in the Netherlands. His current research focuses on the implications of automation for the built environment, based on present-day case studies in the Netherlands and the Pearl River Delta region, as part of Automated Landscapes, a long-term collaborative research initiative on the implications of automation for the built environment, launched in 2017 by Het Nieuwe Instituut. Marten's work has been published in Harvard Design Magazine, The Site Magazine and MetropolisM, among others.