The Department of Search
Created with artist Melle Smets in 2014, the Department of Search is currently set up on the University of Utrecht Uithof Campus (Utrecht Science Park) to insert artistic interventions, methods and perspectives on campus. The Department of Search creates collaboration between artists and scientists for on-site research and tangible prototypes to support the University's effort towards a sustainable campus. Opening up academic research to external pools of expertise (giant vegetable hobbyists, maverick scientists, Professors of Serendipity, artistic scenario and map makers, creative searchers), and creating a safe place to tinker and experiment the Department of Search localizes problems usually researched for elsewhere.
During January 2015 - October 2015 the Giant Corn Field Project created the first community grown corn field of giant Jala Corn. The corn species was introduced by expert and giant vegetable grower Brad Wursten, and cared for by students, employees and professors of the University. The giant corn and vegetables were harvested and prepared in the present food system at the Educatorium Canteen that feeds thousands a day, and was a way to test the capacity of feeding local with local.
In 2016, The Department of Search will investigate with 12 invited artists the theme of sustainability in the local environs of the Uithof Utrecht Science Park. The Department will complement existing sustainable measures with several prototypes and schemes for a Zero Footprint Campus to be showcased Spring 2017.