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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.

Theme:

Fake Nature

diorama repair
Deliver us from Prosthetic Nature

Fake nature is a replica of old nature. Where ‘authentic’ nature is organic, genetic, and alive, fake nature is not. It projects the illusion of life, be it plant or animal, on man-made and inanimate objects.

Yet fake nature is not a dull, devalued shadow of living nature. It is rich in cultural associations that grow, morph, and interact with society and the natural environment. Phone antenna trees grow alongside real pines, dioramas are carefully studied, and the mountains themselves are under girded with steel.

Olafur Eliasson's Waterfalls

Olafur Eliasson's Waterfalls

In 2008, artist Olafur Eliasson installed four artificial waterfalls in various sites around the waterfront of New York City. It is one of the most expensive public arts projects ever undertaken, and probably one of the priciest instances of fake nature.

Simulacra and Simulations

The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth–it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. -Ecclesiastes

If we were able to take as the finest allegory of simulation the Borges tale where the cartographers of the Empire draw up a map so detailed that it ends up exactly covering the territory…

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“Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible.”

— Jean Baudrillard

Space station

Space station

If you would have shown this picture to people 50 years ago, they might have imagined it to be one of those promised 21th century space stations encircling some alien planet in deep space. And then you wake up and find out it is an indoor beach in eastern Germany, where tourist are seeking to overcome their autumn melancholia.

See also: Tropical Dome.

 

Deliver us from Skeuomorph Prosthetics

No, this is not another example in our fake for real series, comparing an artificial with a human hand. Rather, you are looking at twice the same hand: with and without its casing. The design of artificial hands has improved significantly over time and the depicted Fluidhand, created by researchers from Karlsruhe, is perhaps the most advanced prosthetic hand available today.

Yet, one wonders why the designers or artificial limbs always stick to the somewhat boring and predictable simulations of the human limbs they are replacing. If you have lost your hand and you need a prosthesis, why no grasp the opportunity to go for an upgrade?

Deliver us from Skeuomorph Prosthetics
Two species of fake flower survive where other plants cannot. Two species of fake flower survive where other plants cannot.

Downriver in the Lowlands

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. …

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Birthmarks Tattoo

As the name suggests, Birthmarks Tattoos, are fake – but permanent – birthmarks that you can add to your body. Aside from its decorative potential, Birthmarks Tattoo makes it possible for you and your partner to “exchange” birthmarks or to imprint your body with a secret message in braille. Birthmarks Tattoo is a concept by Dutch designers Julia Müller, Arjan Groot and Menno Wittebrood who were commissioned by the magazine Identity Matters to come up with an idea for new ways of tattooing.

Via Guerrila Innovation | See also: Barcode Tattoos | Electronic Tattoos

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Robotic red snapper

Just because you’re feeling paranoid, doesn’t mean the fish aren’t actually spying on you.

Engineers at the University of Kitakyushu created an underwater survey robot that looks good enough to eat. “Tai-robot-kun,” a 7-kilogram (15.4 lb) robotic sea bream (red snapper) with a silicone body covered in realistically hand-painted scales, features a unique propulsion system that allows it to move its tail and drift silently through the water like a real fish.

The robotic fish can swim for an hour on a …

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