The Department of Search
The Giant Corn Field
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). Using artistic interventions and perspectives, the production of collective space-making helps to resolve a campus suffering from a lack of belonging by its students, professors and employees. Using action research, the Department of Search collaborates with scientists for on-site research and tangible prototypes to support the University's effort towards not only a technological but socially sustainable campus. The Department of Search opened up academic research to external pools of expertise (giant vegetable hobbyists, maverick scientists, Professors of Serendipity, artistic scenario and map makers, creative searchers) to support collaborative knowledge focused on the immediate locale rather than 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.
Sweat(er)shop and D-stillery
From 2016, The Department of Search investigates with various artists the theme of sustainability in the local environs of the Uithof Utrecht Science Park with several artistic prototypes and schemes for a Zero Footprint Campus showcased in June 2017.
In June 2017, Hathaway opens the Sweat(er)shop and D-stillery on campus. Her (re)search focuses upon how scientific use of sheep's wool creates new connections between man, animal and landscape. Additionally, Hathaway creates opportunities to utilize campus resources optimally for the campus.
The search brings to light the many opportunities for local food production that are available at the Utrecht Science Park. The organic cows at the Tolakker research farm produce about 750,000 liters of excellent milk a year, which is taken elsewhere. Some restaurants on the campus use a much smaller amount, asking why the farm's milk is not providing local needs?
The campus has extensive meadows where about three hundred and twenty sheep graze. The sheep are part of the Tolakker farm where students receive veterinary education. Hathaway currently has 450 kilos of sheep's wool which is taken away after shearing and is a rich source for local production of clothing (University sweaters) and vitamin D3 from the lanolin. Together with the Chemistry Faculty of Life Science Hathaway investigates how to use the lanolin from the oily wool for the extraction of Vitmain D. The Sweat(er) Shop tests to what extent local consumers have the desire and the ability to go local.
Special thanks to Wendy Cornelis (Fashion Designer) and Oliva Garcia (Felting Expert)
USP Collaborative Partners:
Tolakker Research Farm
HU Life Sciences and Chemistry
Scientific Instrumentation Glass Workshop
Department of Cultural Anthropology
Utrecht Botanic Gardens
Sodexo Educatorium Canteen
Andre and Karin Snoeijers, De Wolkelder
Bart Hoogeboom and Tanya Hendrickx, Kaarderij Wollust
Sietske Klooster, de Melk Salon