Skip to content


Dry West, California Drought, 2015

© Frauke Huber & Uwe H. Martin, Bildrecht Wien 2023

LandRush, TheRoad, Brasilien, 2012

© Frauke Huber & Uwe H. Martin, Bildrecht Wien 2023

DryWest, California Drought, 2016

© Frauke Huber & Uwe H. Martin, Bildrecht Wien 2023

DryWest, Dustbowl Riviera, Salton Sea, 2016

© Frauke Huber & Uwe H. Martin, Bildrecht Wien 2023

LandRush, FullCircle, MV, 2014 ongoing

© Frauke Huber & Uwe H. Martin, Bildrecht Wien 2023


LandRush. Ventures into Global Agriculture

23.02. – 07.05.2023
MQ Freiraum
Tue-Sun & holidays 10-18h l free admission

The artist duo Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin have made it their task to document the social and ecological consequences of global agriculture. As part of this, they have created an outstanding contemporary witness. LandRush, on which the two of them have been working since 2007, brings together pictures and protagonists from various countries in the world. In the past sixteen years, they have collaborated with farmers, fishers, scientists, indigenous peoples as well as activists, in examining topics like seed, water, and land rights, environmental justice, climate change, and the future of agriculture.

Agriculture drives climate change, extinction, erosion, and water depletion. It lays claim to roughly 40 per cent of the world’s land area and more than 70 per cent of all freshwater, drying up riverbeds, lowering the groundwater table, and draining aquifers. Due to over-exploitation of the soil and rising temperatures, desertification is one of the greatest threats to life on earth. Fertilizer from industrial farming harm the ecosystems of rivers and coastal areas, while deforestation and the transformation of grassland into farmland cause soil erosion and loss of biodiversity. Nature is declining globally at unprecedented rates in human history. Agriculture and land-use changes are the main drivers. They also contribute approximately a quarter of greenhouse gases that drive the global climate crisis. All combined, agriculture is the most transformative force humans collectively unleash onto the planet. Yet, most people don‘t realize how fragile our food systems are.

Meanwhile, by the midcentury, the world population is expected to increase to nearly ten billion. Combined with changing diets – from plant-based to meat and fish – this means a higher demand for food and the threat of an even faster degradation of our soil due to exhaustion. At the same time, more and more harvests will fail due to climate change.

The insights into global agriculture that Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin provide with their work do not aim at a specific narrative. The two artists are instead interested in calling attention to current challenges and problems relating to these topics, which are huge and fundamental to our existence, as mediators, translators, and facilitators of dialogue.

The exhibition is divided up into three chapters:

LandRush (since 2011)
In LandRush, Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin analyse the impact of large-scale agro-investments on rural economies and land rights, the boom in renewable fuels, the reallocation of land, and the future of agriculture worldwide. It documents neo-colonial land grabbing in Ethiopia, industrial mega-companies in Brazil, family farms flourishing due to ethanol production in Iowa, and organic farming and land use policies in Eastern Germany – among many other phenomena.

White Gold (2007–2020)
White Gold examines the social and ecological effects of global cotton production. Cotton is the fibre of our life. It is in our clothing, banknotes, animal feed, toothpaste, and film rolls. At the same time, more pesticides are used in the conventional cultivation of cotton than for any other cultivated plant. Cotton plantations require a lot of water and have devastated entire regions such as the Aral Sea. Moreover, from the outset, cotton has been traded more unfairly than most other products. Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin shed light on the mass suicides of cotton farmers locked into a vicious debt cycle in India, the highly subsidized cotton industry in Texas, and the struggle of farmers in Burkina Faso trying to survive in a distorted market.

Dry West (since 2014)
Dry West documents the water use and the human-shaped landscapes of the American West, where rivers run in concrete beds, across mountains and deserts, and up towards money. Increasingly this system that made deserts bloom and cities boom is out of balance. The region demands more water than nature provides. More than 80 percent of the water goes to an agricultural system that turned harvesting into a mining operation: instead of copper, gold, or oil, agriculture mines highly subsidized water.

Curator: Verena Kaspar-Eisert

The book for the project, via which the extensive film archive is also accessible digitally, can be purchased at the information desk for 28.- euros.

About the artists:

Frauke Huber (*1966 in Tegernsee, Germany) and Uwe H. Martin (*1973 in Meersburg, Germany) are independent visual storytellers, artists, and researchers. Their long-term investigations focus on the significant ecological issues of the Anthropocene. They use artistic, journalistic, and scientific strategies to make different realities of life intellectually and emotionally tangible. Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin regularly give talks on fragmented narratives and slow journalism, water policy and agriculture, and have been part of the collaborative art and research project World of Matter. In addition, they mentor young artists and journalists and strive to empower people to expand their scope of action and bring about lasting changes in society and the environment. Uwe also teaches photography, film, and storytelling for eco-social impact at universities and journalism schools worldwide.
The duo lives and works in Hamburg and Bombay Beach in Southern California, where they are building a campus, desert garden and a research lab focussing on eco-social conditions of the Salton Sea region.

Frauke Huber and Uwe H. Martin were supported by the following sponsors among others in realizing the project LandRush:

Kulturwerk Bild Kunst
MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein
RiffReporter gGmbH / Dachstiftung in der GLS Treuhand e. V.
FFA German Federal Film Board

Back to main navigation

Cookie Settings

This websites uses cookies to give you the best possible service. Detailed information can be found in our Terms of use and Data Protection Regulations.

Technically essential

Technically essential cookies used to ensure the basic functionality of the website.


Functional cookies used to ensure the proper performance of the website.


Target-oriented cookies used to improve user experience.