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Whether we quantify and confine our environment in shaping it to our will, leave it to its natural processes, or flatten and exploit it to satisfy our needs, our approach to the landscape trickles down into the development of the cities we inhabit, the industries we work in, and the societies in which we live.

The categorising frames which dominate approaches to inclusivity are often at odds with the true diversity of an environment, making it questionable whether we can ever come to really know a place through such methods of generalisation. The art of noticing and reflecting on relevant details outside such common frameworks can be a valuable resource for learning about diversity. Through various media, Nomaos probes questions such as: does the design of specific public structures reinforce the socio-economic divide between large cities and the periphery? And in what ways are 'natural' landscapes re-arranged so as to represent a certain identity?

About Nomaos

Research collective Nomaos is a cross-disciplinary group of architects, artists, illustrators, designers, urbanists and writers who, in their individual practice or background, navigate disciplines as divergent as geology and sociology, mathematics and history. In their method of working, the encounter with the landscape is a form of collaboration – just as in artistic expression, where disciplines, identities and ideas meet and work together.

For a research period of one year, Nomaos sought encounters with places in Russia and the Netherlands. Rich in boundless stretches of land, Russia's landscape looks, on the surface, nothing like that of the Netherlands, where every inch of the environment is optimised. Yet individual stories can uncover those areas where utilitarian approaches to these vastly different landscapes share a common ground.

Opening talk

View the opening talk of What Do Landscapes Say?, broadcasted on Thursday 3 September, via the video below. On this evening, research collective Nomaos gave an onine panel discussion about the research process and collaboration behind the project, including a small virtual walk through the exhibition. Research coordinator Yue Mao and curator Naomi van Dijck moderated the discussion with 9 contributing artists.

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Opening talk 'What Do Landscapes Say?'

What Do Landscapes Say? is made possible by Creative Industries Fund NL, the Mondriaan Fund and Stroom. The closing exhibitions take place in Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam and Na Peschanoy Gallery, Moscow.

Het Nieuwe Instituut and Landscape

Het Nieuwe Instituut has a rich history of projects related to this topic, within the theme Landscape and Interior. Click here for an overview.



Polina Veidenbakh, Yue Mao


Naomi van Dijck, Yue Mao

Exhibition designer

Maria Kremer

Graphic designer

Maria Malkova, Daria Nikulina

Contributing artists

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Museumpark 25
3015 CB Rotterdam

Het Nieuwe Instituut
Maud Vervenne