Artist, researcher and philosopher. The discovery of Next Nature has been the most profound experience in my life so far. It is my aim to better understand our co-evolutionary relationship with technology and help set out a track towards a future that is rewarding for both humankind and the planet at large.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood you may want to attend the Next Nature lecture at the Island Design March on March 22 in the “most northerly capital in the world”.
If you happen to not be in the neighborhood, you hopefully still enjoy the eccentric 3D flowery purple sheep which is part of the Design March visual identity and opportunistically also our peculiar image of the week.
So you thought the Internet was made by and for people? Think again. A study by Incapsula, a provider of cloud-based security for web sites (mind you where this data comes from), concludes that 51% of all Internet traffic is generated by non-human sources such as hacking software, scrapers and automated spam mechanisms. While 20% of the 51% non-human traffic is’ good’, the 31% majority of this non-human traffic is potentially malicious.
Christian Schwägerl, biologist, correspondent for Der Spiegel and writer of the book Menschenzeit, introduces us into the Anthropocene, a geologic term that marks the significant global impact of human activities on the Earth’s ecosystems.
The always excellent VPRO Tegenlight made an interview with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek in which he talks about the ongoing ecological crisis and concludes that Nature doesn’t exist, at least not as the balanced and harmonic force we traditionally take it for.
Of course our faithful readers – yes thats you! – already long know that Nature is better understood as a dynamic force that changes along with us. Even so it is an illuminating joy to hear Žižek express it in his own eccentric words.
Some years ago we studied the heritage of Coca Cola as a health drink and presented a fictional product called Organic Coke. Back in 2008 this was merely a speculative design, created to stir a discussion on the use of natural imagery to market products.
Be Brave, Be Optimistic, Be Different, Be Young, Take care of your BODY, Drink Organic Coke. Admittedly that slogan still needs some work, yet it would certainly be to our delight to see the green cans appearing in the supermarket. Yes, I still want my Organic Coke!
At the Next Nature Power Show 2011, Dr Rachel Armstrong argued we must move away from creating buildings as inert structures and develop architecture that repairs itself. Application of such living technology may help save Venice from sinking.
Recently, while traveling in Africa, I spotted this all organic coco-drink dispenser. Opening the can was a bit more difficult than I was used to, but then again I didn’t need to insert a coin before collecting my refreshment! Isn’t it just great when you can rely on your environment to store your food? Peculiar image of the week.
Know garlic? Now imagine you could make something that functions alike, but smells a lot better. Body architect Lucy McRae teams up with Harvard Biologist Sheref Mansy to create a digestible scented capsule that works through your own perspiration.
Once absorbed, fragrance molecules are excreted through the skin’s surface. A unique odor is emanated, depending on each individual’s acclimatization to temperatures, to stress, exercise, or sexual arousal. Watch Lucy’s presentation at the Next Nature Power Show.
Now here is an hands-on example of ‘guided growth‘ as a way to steer complex systems.
Part of the Dutch coastline is currently being reinforced by creating a ‘sand engine’. This involves depositing 21.5 million cubic meters of sand in the shape of a hook extending from the coast near Ter Heijde. The sand is expected to be spread along the provincial coastline by the natural motion of wind, waves and currents. Ultimately the coast is expected to be broader and safer.
Simulation of the expected functioning of the sand engine
Montreal filmmakers Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks’ documentary feature, Surviving Progress presents the story of human advancement and reveals the risk of running the 21st century’s software — our know-how — on the ancient hardware of our primate brain which hasn’t been upgraded in 50,000 years. It is up to us to prove that making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead-end.
Media artists Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács created a remake of the Disney classic Bambi from which they stripped all the inhabitants. The removal of the cuddly, anthropomorphic animals makes the utopian construction of the pristine wilderness visible. Movie starts after 1:50 min introduction.
While most people think biotechnology is complex, expensive and exclusively practiced in fancy lab settings, designer Tuur van Balen argues it is actually quite accessible. He demonstrates his vision on DIY biotechnology by creating an ‘anti-depressant yoghurt’ on stage.
“God created the world, except for the Netherlands. That the Dutch created themselves”, Voltaire remarked in the eighteenth century already to describe the overly cultivated Dutch landscape. But when the Dutch built the Netherlands, they forgot to add any mountains. Former cyclist and visionary Thijs Zonneveld was annoyed by the lack of cyclable heights and proposed to build a 2000-meter high mountain in the Netherlands. Ridiculous idea or summit of Dutch Design?
Unlike the earlier purely theoretical proposal by Jacob Tigges in Berlin, the people behind Die Berg Komt Er (That Mountain will be There) are taking their landscape-building mandate seriously. Their ‘mountain’ should really be understood as a very large building with all kinds of functions ranging from housing, to recreation, to sustainable energy source.