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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.

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Featured Page #03: Tomorrow’s Fossils

During the coming weeks, we will present a selection of our favourite pages from the Next Nature book. This week the thirs one in this series: Tomorrow’s Fossils.

Ode to the car in 40 years’ time? A future Museum of Obsolete Objects? Inspired by Stonehenge while living in England, Jim Reinders, an experimental American artist, originally built Carhenge in Western Nebraska as a memorial to his father. Created in 1987 with the help of his family, it is now a free tourist attraction. It uses 38 vehicles, including a 1962 Cadillac, to mirror the position of the rocks that comprise Stonehenge.

England’s ‘natural’ past, an idealized place of agrarian idyll and legendary deeds, is transported to contemporary America. Reinders argues for the mythological resonance of the automobile, both as a continuation of past traditions, and as a progenitor of myth itself. As much as we live exclusively in next nature, we look to old nature, and old culture, for context. Will vintage gas-guzzlers prove as enduring as Stonehenge’s boulders?

Past Perfect
Certain technologies, already obsolete in our time, may be as inscrutable in the distant future as long-extinct species are to us. When presented as a natural part of the geological record, a cellphone or a Playstation controller becomes a rare oddity. The skeletons of videogame and cartoon characters are just as disorientating, conjuring a life (and death) for the patently fictional. Yet these imagined artifacts recognize the same premise: the fossil record of our species will not be distinguished by our bones, but by our technologies.

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Featured here are pages 56-57 from the book Next Nature: Nature Changes Along with Us. More information about the book can be found here.

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