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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.


Information Decoration

banana ripening chart Image: Westwood Banana Company
Moving Data from the Screen to the World

Much of the data in our lives comes from square, electronic screens. We get our news from the television, our books from e-readers, transportation schedules from LED screens, and everything else from computers and mobile phones.

Nature encodes information in some elegant ways: the fish that changes color when it’s ready to mate, the banana that turns yellow when it’s ripe. ‘Information decoration’ takes its inspiration from old nature to present data in an unobtrusive manner, helping to restore depth of meaning to the built environment.

Augmented (Hyper)Reality

Augmented (Hyper)Reality

Keiichi Matsuda presents a dystopian vision of a world where augmented reality has created a nightmare of information overload

Information Decoration

Picture this: it’s 40,000 years ago, and you are an early Homo sapiens. You are standing on the savanna. Look around you. What do you see? No billboards, no traffic signs, no logos, no text. You might see grassland, a stand of trees, a bank of clouds in the distance. You are in a kind of vast, unspoilt nature reserve. Are you feeling wonderfully relaxed yet? Don’t be mistaken. Unlike the woodland parks where you sometimes go walking of a Sunday, this is not a recreational environment. This is where you live.

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What information overload? The so-called information society has barely scratched the surface of our human bandwidth!

— Koert van Mensvoort

Energy consumption shown on power plant

Energy consumption shown on power plant

Information decoration on a city scale. Every night from the 22 to the 29 of February 2008, the vapor emissions of he Salmisaari power plant in Helsinki will be illuminated to show the current levels of electricity consumption by local residents. A laser ray will trace the cloud during the night time and turn it into a neon-style graph.

Nuage Vert is an artwork by Helen Evans & Heiko Hansen.  Via Sustain. Thanks Berry.


Evolution in the Bedroom

Good morning anywhere in the world!
Waking up is a problem (at least for 50% of the population). That’s why alarm clocks exist; machines and devices are invented to solve problems. At first they serve one purpose only and need activation to function properly. But over time inventions seem to evolve and become more humane. Some of them are patiently waiting for some interaction to happen. The alarm clock is no exeption to this, which illustrates this new device: The Glo Pillow is a nice example of calm–technology. You can now start the day browsing your pillow!

Evolution in the Bedroom
Julius Popp's Bit.Fall uses falling droplets of water to convey messages. Julius Popp's Bit.Fall uses falling droplets of water to convey messages.

The Sound of the Blue Canary

Blue is a beautiful color, but its sound is simply irresistible. It is the song of the unhappy and the depressed. It is a sound that touches people. It was also the sound of a little songbird, the Serinus Canaria Domestica, a sound that so moved me, I was led on a voyage of discovery into the world of birdsong. The Serinus Canaria Domestica is the man-made descendant of the Wild Canary, a finch originally from the Canary Islands, which nowadays exists in many different breeds. This essay deals with the cultivation of the song-bred canary and imagines how its story might lend inspiration to the sound design of electric cars.


Sounds ‘exist in time and over space’ [1]. You can hear a sound without having to face the source that produces it; you only have to be listening or recording at the right time. If you want to see an object, however, you have to be facing it. And, in most cases, you can re-view the object at different moments and for longer periods; visual objects therefore ‘exist in space and over time’.

When you are a small bird living in dense foliage, leaves prevent effective visual communication. This makes sound an excellent alternative for warning or impressing your mates, or for marking out your territory. The volatile character of sound, however, makes its evolutionary development difficult to trace, whether it be birdsong or vocal communication in animals in general. We know from visual fossil inspection, for example, that there was a close relationship between dinosaurs and birds [2]. At the same time, though we have a sense of …

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Excitement Clothing

The body suit pictured above has LEDs that illuminate according to the wearer’s state of excitement. Skin signals are measured and change light emission through biometric sensing technology.

The suit was concieved in Philips Designs’ SKIN probe project that challenges the notion that our lives are automatically better because they are more digital. It looks at more ‘analog’ phenomena like emotional sensing, exploring technologies that are ‘sensitive’ rather than ‘intelligent’.

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Squamata headset dances with the Music

Inspired by body language of animals (in particular squamates and porcupines), designer Jop Japenga created a headphone with an adaptive skin that responds to the music played on them – resembling a bird performing a mating dance.

The concept of his headphone was to make an public depiction of one’s frame of mind rather than a set of headphones that just reacted to the hits of every song. Inner atmosphere is communicated through a skin of reflective scales. Japenga used memory metal, an Arduino controller and custom electronic to create a working prototype with kinetic scales on the band that wave with either energetic or subtle force in accordance with the genre of music.

The headset was created last year in the ‘adaptive & informative skin’ project conducted at the Next Nature …

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