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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Light weeds

Light weeds

Lightweeds is a project by Simon Heijdens and currently exhibited at the MoMA – part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition.

The organisms – plants, weeds, trees – exist as a light-projection on the walls of the MoMA building. Their behaviour – growth, movement, pollentation or plant generation – is influenced by actual circumstances – weather and human movement – outside. Measured by sensors, the data directly influences the behaviour of the projected organisms.

“Nature is becoming rare in our daily life, as we pass most of the day in perpetual spaces with conditioned climates and 24 hour lighting that mute the relief of the day and year. When unplanned natural elements like a lifting breeze, a sudden shower or a setting sun are planned out of our surrounding, the timeline of our every day is lost.”

Simon Heijdens is a designer and artist, currently living in London where he teaches at the Interactive Design Department of the Royal College of Art.

Related post: Funky Forest

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Discussion

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  1. I appreciate the beauty and the incredible craftsmanship in Simons digital flowers and I fully understand why they are so popular. At the same time i find the work incredibly illustrative and nostalgic.
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    The 20th century brought us plastic flowers, the 21th century brings us digitally projected flowers. To me, it is the same thing: fake nature. A digitally projected flower will always be a derivative of the flowers we find in old nature. It literately is a projection.
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    Rather than celebrating next nature, this weeps on the loss of old nature. True, people love it and the collectors buy it like cake, but personally i find the idea of having to live in a world of projected flowers a horrible nightmare.. Maybe thats what Simon is trying to tell us, I am not sure.

  2. True, I’m myself doubting whether this project is built upon the Droog-design ‘aftermath’ and its superficial (though Droog and very Dutch) sellable one-off-design principles.
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    Simon’s project is indeed beautiful and technically well-executed (although I’m not sure whether the connection between the data-input and projected translation is so clear – it could be anything), but in my opinion conceptually not critical enough.

  3. I like Emily Gobeille & Theodore Watson’s version better; it’s art, but at least it’s fun and happy… (Funky Forest link added above)