FIELDCLUB was asked to develop and lead a fieldtrip as part of the Penzance Convention:
Beginning with the sun’s eternally extravagant glare beating down on the hunter gatherer’s primeval forest, and concluding with computerised food production systems dependent on globally sourced synthetic inputs, 'The Story of NPK: Agriculture as Extraction' offered an agrosophical examination revealing the changing dynamic of extraction in agricultural techniques from prehistory until today.
Accompanied by local experts, and our agricultural-system modelling tool FieldMachine, we traced the history of Cornwall’s agricultural industry through the landscape, visiting examples of Iron Age, Medieval, Pre-Industrial, and contemporary farming. We looked closely at the relationship between the scientific advances of the Industrial Revolution and their influence on the Agricultural Revolution, the effect of geological and chemical contingency on plant evolution, and the plant itself as kleptomaniacal scrounger – whose ability to disrupt the dissipative flow of the sun’s energy facilitates all higher life.
The very nature of the agricultural ‘cycle’, was up for debate as we scrutinized the change in agricultural production from cyclicality to linearity, and consided what, in the context of agriculture, can be meant by the term extraction.