No this is not some stellar system far away. What is it then? Lets make another picture, this time with the flashlight on…
No this is not some stellar system far away. What is it then? Lets make another picture, this time with the flashlight on…
In response to the latest oil spill famed photographer Steven Meisel made a shoot for the Italian Vogue (the only fashion magazine in the world worth reading, really) that replaces the tragically accustomed oil-soaked birds with a top model Kristen McMenamy withering away wearing black feathered outfits. Poor girls birds.
This project is about Nature’s brand image. One might surmise that “Nature,” being 100 percent all-natural, can’t have any brand image. The facts suggest otherwise. Try it for yourself: tell a friend that something seemingly 100 percent natural is actually “96 percent natural.” Not a great difference, apparently, yet a profound unease arises. That unease is the subject of the many provocative essays and remarkable graphics on NextNature.net
by BRUCE STERLING
The project is a study in why we feel uneasiness when the Nature brand is violated. It’s also about the exciting new-and-improved varieties of unnatural unease that have come to exist quite recently. It explains why this sensibility is spreading, and what that implies for who we are, and how we live with Nature.
Now, when Nature is slightly artificialized — say, by installing a park bench under a tree — we rarely get any dark suspicious frisson about that. The uncanny can only strike us when our ideological constructs about Nature are dented. We’re especially guarded about our most pious, sentimentalized notions of Nature. Nature as a nurturing entity that is harmonious, calm, peaceful, inherently rightful and all-around “good-for-you.”
This vaguely politicized attitude about Nature never came from Nature. It was culturally generated. Nature didn’t get her all-natural identity-branding until the Industrial Revolution broke out. Then poets and philosophers were allowed to live in dense, well-supplied cities, where they could recast Nature from some intellectual distance. Before that huge effusion of organized artifice, people lived much closer to the soil.
These farmers rarely spoke of “Nature” in the abstract. They were too deeply involved in a lifelong subsistence struggle with natural events, such as inclement weather, bad harvests, weeds, pests, and blights. They certainly never mistook their existing state of affairs for the Biblical Eden: their theological utopia in which Nature was always harmonious, calm, peaceful and good-for-you.
Our first spot of the month was made by Tijn Kooijmans, who pinpointed the first Dutch Arbor Artificialis Naturalis planted in 1999 by telecom provider Libertel.
You too can share your favorite and most peculiar nextnature spots in your surroundings via our nextnature spotter for iPhone. Who knows your submission will be the spot of the month someday which means fame & goodies. Congratulations Tijn, T-shirt and DVD are coming your way.
“Owning the Weather” is a documentary about geo-engineering by Robert Greene. It’s about whether or not we should engineer the weather and the different impacts that this has. And not only because we can, but also because actually we are already doing so.
“There are more than fifty active weather modification programs in the United States alone. Through the eyes of key individuals on the front lines of a crucial but largely unknown debate, the film introduces the cloud seeders struggling for mainstream recognition, the ‘legitimate’ scientists who doubt them, and the activists who decry any attempts to mess with Mother Nature.”
Climate change is often thought to have its winners and losers, with Canada, Nordic countries and Russia being portrayed as among the lucky few chilly nations where moderate climate change could mean net benefits such as lower winter heating bills, more forest, longer crop growth and perhaps more summer tourism.
Russia’s two-month heat wave, which wrecked a quarter of Russia’s grain crop and may cut $14 billion from gross domestic product, is dimming prospects that northern countries will “win” from climate change.
While Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in 2002 joked that less icy weather would enable Russians to buy fewer fur coats, President Dmitry Medvedev now blamed the heat wave on global warming – even though most experts say it is impossible to link individual weather events to climate change.
People in Nordic nations and Canada are becoming aware that climate change will not be a simple blessing for them. Possible damaging side-effects of less chill weather, including the risk to forests and crops of insect pests normally kept in check by winter frosts.
Our peculiar image of the week learns us that what is good for the environment doesn’t always look good for the environment.
The adieu of this disused tank into the Gulf of Thailand last week looks like a blatantly disgraceful act of dumping waste. Yet all was done in the name of ecology. Trucks and 25 old Army tanks were dropped into the ocean to form artificial corals hoped to improve the ecosystem’s fish stocks.
Now lets hope some future archeologist that might find the tanks won’t mistake the site for an ancient war zone flooded by the trenches of global warming.
Via the Mirror.
Resource-poor Japan discovered a new source of mineral wealth: sewage sludge. In its first month of operation, a sewage plant in Japan’s Nagano prefecture has mined 5 million yen ($56,000) worth of gold from sludge.
Sewage plant operator Nagano Prefecture Suwa Construction Office announced that approximately four pounds of gold can be mined from each ton of molten fly ash generated when incinerating sludge at its facility in the town of Suwa. That is better than the 20 to 40 grams of golden metal retrieved from each ton of ore at Japan’s Hishikare mine, according to Reuters.
The Netherlands is known for its outright flat landscape – its even part of the name. How come the Dutch Womans Youth Rafting Team just won the World Cup in the category ‘Downriver’? Lucky?
Must be, cause how could the four of them get proper training without rivers running wild, without speeding downhill? Just by a little floating on a Dutch lake? And how come last year a Dutch girl won a gold medal at the Olympics in snowboarding, lucky as well? Must be, as the Dutch don’t have any mountains nor enough snow.
I once read a quote saying “The best rapper in the world is white (Eminem) and the best golfer in the world is black (Tiger Woods), what’s happening?”. I have this feeling when I see these Dutchies winning prizes in their unnatural habitat. I’m already hoping for a Jamaican to win at Fierljeppen (a typical traditional Dutch sport).
But in fact something much bigger causes these strange successes. Since the last two or three decades the Dutch have been stealing environments. If we like what we elsewhere we just copy it. Instead of trying to conquer it as we used to, we now take a close look and rebuilt it. Today you can ski on snow mountains, climb rocks, raft wild rivers, go to China (town) or on a Safari without crossing the border. We reshape our nation to entertain ourselves and that’s not typical Dutch. Japan made a copy of Amsterdam, Vegas did Venice and Disneyland is everywhere.
Globalization doesn’t stop with a bit of networking and outsourcing, we even shift our physical world, exchanging complete cities and landscapes. And as we had brought the Zambezi River – famous for rafting – to Zoeterwoude (photo) we could as well easily organize the World Cup Rafting.
So the success of the Dutch Womans Youth Rafting team might be due to the event was held in our own land, on a wild – but man made – river. I wander what’s next? Indoor surfing in Ghana, outdoor ice skating in Dubai or curling at the Himalayas? It will at least make some extra ordinary champions.
Superman already knew it: Steered growth is the future of architecture.
The lower picture was taken at the Industrias Peñoles nano-chrystal architecture lab in Chihuahuan, Mexico where researchers are growing giant crystals. No seriously, the Cave of Crystals isn’t man made. It was discovered by Industrias Peñoles miners a thousand feet (300 meters) below Naica mountain in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Justin Shull investigates the born and the made by mixing them up in mobile installations like the “Terrestrial Shrub Rover” and the “Porta Hedge”. His designs consist of several eco-conscious design features including recycled Christmas trees on the exterior, wood finishing on the interior, and the relaxing sound of birdsong audio on the interior and exterior. These vehicles are made to observe and explore both terrestrial and social environments.
Blob architecture 1.400 AD in the emperor’s garden in the Forbidden City, Beijing. Peculiar image, from China with love.
That Next Nature is nothing new can be proven in a walk around Castle Duivenvoorde. The castle dates back from the 11th century, while the gardens date from 1631. In a time where wild and old nature was still widespread, the noble family Van Duivenvoorde created a vast terrain of gardens and ponds.
Ironically, the terrain is now enclosed by two highways and a railway. The inhabitants of the castle try to live of the land and have a cradle-to-cradle philosophy on the preservation of the complex.
What to do when you have a small city with limited space, and you rather turn available space into parking lots instead of parks? You turn to DUS Architects for an unlimited forrest. The Unlimited Urban Woods lets you disappear into an endless forrest that just takes a few square meters.
By placing a real tree into a cubic space of mirrors, the tree gets repeated endlessly, creating the feeling of a forrest. Personally, I would be interested in an endless parking space in the forrest too.
Images by Pieter Kers.
In millions of offices and homes around the world, people are hard at work planting crops, feeding cattle and tilling their land. Welcome to Farmville, the digital rural world where the sun always shines, where beans take two days to grow, where pink cows produce strawberry milk, where farming is leisure.
Farmville has become a viral Internet trend since its launch as a Facebook application in 2007. According to Zynga, the company that brought FarmVille into the world, it has rapidly grown to over 70 million users – compare that to the one million traditional farmers active in the USA.
Players sign up and get fields, infrastructure, and cash. Their task is to create bigger, better, and richer farms. The game starts off with a given piece of land and seeds that can be planted, harvested and sold for online coins. As you make money, you can buy things, from basics like pumpkin seeds and chicken to the truly superfluous, like elephants and hot-air balloons. Impatient players can use credit cards or a PayPal account to buy more assets, although purists tend to disapprove on the practice and constrain themselves to developing their farm through simple ‘labor’.
During the riots of 1968, as students in Paris ripped up paving stones and threw them at the police, one of the rallying cries was “sous le pave: la plage” (under the pavement: the beach). The beach – the incarnation of a natural, undesignated and non-utilitarian space – was the opposite of the street, a historic relic of a designated, oppressive environment based on private property.
Since May 1968, policymakers have learned to better comply with the needs of the public. At various cities in the worlds every summer a temporarily artificial beach is created on the pavement. Last year alone, in Mexico City the local government created 10 artificial beaches, mostly in poorer parts of the city.
In general, the camouflaging of infrastructure with ‘natural imagery’ has proven a successful strategy to provide the public with a seemingly more friendly and acceptable living environment. This, of course, doesn’t withstand that order has to be maintained: Parisian sunbathers that go nude or wear g-strings on the capital’s artificial beaches risk a 38 euro fine if they are caught baring their breasts or buttocks. Under the beach – the pavement.
Image: ‘Paris Plage’ (Paris Beach) along banks of the River Seine in Paris.
Via Yale Environment 360, by Elizabeth Kolbert
Is human activity altering the planet on a scale comparable to major geological events of the past? Scientists are now considering whether to officially designate a new geological epoch to reflect the changes that homo sapiens have wrought: the Anthropocene.
The Holocene — or “wholly recent” epoch — is what geologists call the 11,000 years or so since the end of the last ice age. As epochs go, the Holocene is barely out of diapers; its immediate predecessor, the Pleistocene, lasted more than two million years, while many earlier epochs, like the Eocene, went on for more than 20 million years. Still, the Holocene may be done for. People have become such a driving force on the planet that many geologists argue a new epoch — informally dubbed the Anthropocene — has begun.
German architect Jakob Tigges explores the outskirts of megalomania with his proposed a plan to construct a 1000-meter tall mountain at the site of the recently closed Tempelhof airport in Berlin, which was originally constructed by the Nazi’s as part of their megalomaniac Germania plan.
If realized, ‘The Berg’ would be the largest man-made icon. A tourist attraction unlike any city has ever served, providing Berliners and (more importantly) tourists with a convenient location to enjoy a range of activities including hiking, hang-gliding, rock climbing and even skiing, as the mountain would collect snow on its peak from September to March offering the perfect skiing climate in the otherwise slope-less city.