Environmental artist Agnes Denes’s iconic 1982 work, Wheatfield - A Confrontation, sought to call “people’s attention to having to rethink their priorities”. Installed on a landfill near the World Trade Centre in Manhattan, after the harvest of the four-month installation, it was cleared to make room for the construction of a billion-dollar luxury complex.
In July 2009, the EXYZT architectural collective reprised Denes’s Wheatfield in London, as part of the Barbican Art Gallery’s Radical Nature exhibition. Working closely with communities in Hackney, rural nature was transplanted to a disused site in Dalston. Additionally, a functioning windmill produced low-voltage electricity to create flour and bake bread. “Can art succeed where science is proving insufficient to generate the will to act effectively on climate change?” asked Madeleine Bunting in The Guardian.