Manufactured nature that’s better than the real thing
Much of the so-called ‘nature’ in our lives has taken on an artificial authenticity. Engineered tomatoes are redder, rounder, and larger than the ones from our gardens. We have made fluorescent fish, featherless birds, and botanical gardens that contain species from every corner of the globe.
Human design has made nature hypernatural. Hypernature is an exaggerated simulation of a nature that never existed. It’s better than the real thing: a little bit prettier, slicker and safer than the old kind. Hypernature is culture in disguise.
More hypernatural designer-fruit. What do you get when you cross a strawberry and a pineapple? A pineberry, of course.
Some seven years ago the pineberry was taken from its native South America and grown commercially in …
Lets grow an Avatar Forest
After making the successful and popular movie Avatar (2009), James Cameron started the Avatar Home Tree Initiative. This initiative consists of building “Avatar” forests on 17 places on Earth in collaboration with local organizations. Among …
Human design brings us ‘natural’ experiences that could not exist without the human hand, but can be appreciated nevertheless. Perhaps we are intuitively faked to believe rainbow-dyed flowers are evolutionary more advanced than the original …
Do you happen to know the Dutch Tomatoes? They look like Ferrari’s and taste like shit. They are redder, rounder, larger, and maybe even healthier than the ones from our gardens. They are more natural …
We all know the cellphone masts disguised as trees, created in an attempt to blend technology within the ‘natural’ landscape. Now Taiwanese scientists have created trees that could function as streetlights. They infused the leaves …
Pimp My Planet
After the worldwide acceptance of plastic surgery, it was time to subject our worldly possessions and digital identities to an aesthetic and/or functional upgrade. Everything can be pimped. Even our own planet.
N is for Nature
There are people who think what makes a good wine comes from nature – factors like rain and soil and temperature. Then there are those who think it’s a matter of second nature – of picking and fermenting and ageing. But these days, there’s a whole new world of wine making technology – and a whole new argument as to what is “natural” and what is not.
These days, its chemists rather than vignerons who are increasingly in charge of technique. It is illegal in the United States and in many other countries to add flavours or colourings. But it isn’t illegal to add oak chips to wine fermenting in stainless steel barrels to get that “oak finish” promised on the label.
With his speculative ‘acoustic garden’ David Benqué tries to explore our cultural and aesthetic relationship to nature. He states that the current debate around Genetic Engineering is centred around subjects like food and healthcare but that the altering of nature is no new development. Mankind altered nature for hundreds of years. Think of flowers and mind altering weeds. Benqué wants to question the role of our aesthetic relationship to nature in this age of synthetic biology.
He designed a variety of plants that are able to produce sounds. Such as parasitical plants that feed of other plants and grow big shapes filled with gas produced by special bacteria. This gas creates a high pitched sound when it escapes under pressure. Or a string nut that, combined with insects that can chew in rhythm, can create all kinds of sound frequencies. Trough selective breeding techniques different frequencies and volumes can be achieved. By grafting (a very old technique that allows you to grow different species of plant out of one tree trunk) you could create a complete harmony in one tree.
“A glowing green logo drawn by scientists on the wing of a genetically altered butterfly could herald the day that the insects are adorned with adverts and slogans. A team at the University at Buffalo that developed the world’s first genetically modified butterfly has now adapted the work to create the fluorescent marking on the wings of the insect to demonstrate an innovative tool that will make it easier to find out what genes do, in this case those that play a role in making the patterns on wings, from stripes to eye spots.”
Written by Debbie Mollenhagen
PART 1: FROM LINEAR TO CIRCULAR
Designer living has become designing life. I often ask myself: did it taste like the real thing? But when I open my eyes I see a world where plastic grows on trees and where everything tastes better than the real thing. A world which has been replaced with a copy of itself. When I was living in Australia I knew a girl who didn’t know where sultanas came from, which I thought was odd. After all, she was 15. How is it possible? I guess to me that was like buying one of those lemon squeeze things which came in the shape of a lemon, and thinking that they grew on trees. Plastics don’t grow on trees or do they?
Enjoy. Suddenly out of nothing, something fell from the sky. I found myself confronted with a piece of deformed fruit, I paused for a moment and tried to remain calm. I didn’t know what to do so I did what came naturally, I yelled back at the sky and told her that the fruit was not acceptable and that I would not eat it. Why should I, I thought? I demand more, I know my rights! I want to be able to express what I expect in my relationship with what I buy. How do I make a fruit more compatible with my needs? Then I remembered this thing fell from the sky, I didn’t buy it and besides in real life fruit has already been designed to accommodate my needs.
We have become our own gods. The sheep Dolly scenario suggests …
The meat in the supermarket is abstract, square and habitually made from wickedly manifactured animals. A friend once told me he only eats meat if he “can not recognize the animal in it”. I felt this was a disturbing remark, but this ‘consumers preference’ may also bring opportunities: disengage the animal from the meat.
According to researchers, Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale. Winston Churchil, a carnivore to the core, already in 1936 predicted that “we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.” Today, growing meat in the lab still seems the stuff of science fiction, but reality is not far behind.
The picture above shows …
The US Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate.
The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies. It is an Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon as well as a genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, a distant relative of the salmon.
Normally salmon do not make growth hormone in cold climate. But …
Behold the featherless chicken, created by Scientists at the genetics faculty at the Rehovot Agronomy Institute near Tel Aviv, Israel.The idea behind the development of this naked bird is that it will create a more …
The first pregnant man
At first I thought this first pregnant man was a hoax, but after I saw it on Oprah I realized it must be ‘real’. Well, the pregnant man is actually a former woman who had …
Why are Carrots Orange? It is Political
No, the image above does not some show some collection of freshly genetically designed hypercarrots in various colors of the rainbow. This is the spectrum of colors carrots used to have – and in some …