Witteveen+Bos designs with IHA and CATPC a roadmap for ‘reverse gentrification’ of rural Congo

28 October 2015

The Dutch engineering consultancy Witteveen+Bos has awarded the IHA its yearly Art+Technology Award. In the framework of this award, Witteveen+Bos, the IHA and the Cercle d'Art des Travailleurs de Plantation Congolaise (CATPC) will present their mutual efforts. They have created a roadmap for the IHAs Research Centre in Congo for intervening in traditional, global value chains to allow for artistic engagement to actually become lucrative at the former Unilever plantation.

Witteveen+Bos has placed its knowledge of technology and infrastructure at the projects disposal. The project demonstrates the possibility to devise innovative, market-based solutions to global challenges, thus helping to achieve a fairer, more inclusive world.

The Board of Directors of Witteveen+Bos state: “Art does much to increase wealth and prosperity in places such as New York, London and Amsterdam. It is a process in which Renzo Martens {IHAs Artistic Director} sees possibilities to realise a new economic model. Can art improve the economic wellbeing at places where this seems highly unlikely? In the Congolese jungle, his Institute for Human Activities has established the worlds first research centre concerned with the relationship between art and economic inequality.”

The Witteveen+Bos Art+Technology Award was established in 2001 to express appreciation for technology and the relationship between the creativity of both artists and engineers alike. The award consists of a cash prize of €15,000, a dedicated publication, and an exhibition of the recipients work. The roadmap for reverse gentrification was shown during the exposition 'On the Institute for Human Activities', on view at the Bergkerk in Deventer, the Netherlands, from November 6 through December 6, 2015.