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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.


Society of Simulations

kool-aid-drinkers Photo from Alex Gross
Simulations are now more influential, satisfying and meaningful than the reality they are presumed to represent

The media have become our filters through which we survey the world around us. We see more images every day than a person living in the Middle Ages in a whole lifetime. Plastic surgeons sculpt flesh to match retouched photographs in glossy magazines.

Virtual computer worlds are becoming increasingly ‘real’ and blended with our physical world. People drink beverages with non-existing fruit flavors. We wage war on video screens. Birds mimic mobile–phone ring tones. Do we still have genuine experiences at all, or are we living in a Society of Simulations?

Sight: As Second Life becomes First Life

Sight: As Second Life becomes First Life

This short, created by Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo, portrays a speculative future wherein we all walk around with contact lens-like devices that augment our reality.

A Society of Simulations

Over the last century or so, the technological reproduction of images has grown explosively. Each of us is confronted with more images every day than a person living in the Middle Ages would have seen in their whole lifetime. If you open a 100-year-old newspaper you will be amazed by the volume of text and the absence of pictures.

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Our brains have only limited capabilities for understanding media.

— Koert van Mensvoort, A Society of Simulations

Out of Network

When we type “Flickr” or “Facebook” or “YouTube” into a browser, we seek to enter social networks and enjoy secure communication and interaction with a vast number of online users from around the world. Most of us take for granted that these words are understood by others in the same way. But what if rather than type these words on a keyboard we paint them on the walls of slums in Mali, Cambodia or Vietnam. Their meanings would certainly change.

It’s beyond arguing, for most of us, that technologies now exert an unprecedented control over our lives. Google Maps tells us where we are, Record Future where we will be and Facebook who our friends are.

In recent years the Italian artist Filippo Minelli has produced land art that consists of writing the names of social networks and corporations on the walls of slums in developing countries. Minelli has stated that the aim of the project (which is called “Contradictions”) is “to point out the gap between the reality we still live in and the ephemeral world of technologies.”

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Out of Network
Michael Najjar – High Altitude

Michael Najjar – High Altitude

The rock formations in the High Altitude photo series don’t exist physically, yet they are very present in our society of simulations. The photos visualize the development of the leading global stock market indices over the past 20-30 years.

Each stock market index, such as the Dow Jones (shown above), Nikkei, Nasdaq or the more specific Lehman Brothers stock quote downfall, corresponds to a impeccably rendered unique mountain range. Photographer Michael Najjar used the images captured during his trek to Mount Aconcagua (6,962m) as the basis of the high altitude data visualizations.

“Was nothing real?” “You were real Truman. That's what made you so good to watch” “Was nothing real?” “You were real Truman. That's what made you so good to watch”

Games become jobs: Gold farming in China

Chinese workers slaying monsters to earn gold for western consumers. It sounds surreal, but it is a far from virtual reality for the so-called ‘gold farmers’, who are working in 10-hour shifts to help players gain levels, and wealth, in online roleplaying games like World of Warcraft.

For thousands of Chinese workers, gold farming is a way of life. Workers earn between €85-€130 a month which, given the long hours and night shifts, can amount to as little as 30 cent an hour. After completing a shift, they are given a basic meal of rice, meat and vegetables and falls into a bunk bed in a room that eight other gold farmers share. Wages may be low, but food and accommodation are included. You can hire your own gold farming slave employee via wow7gold.com.

According to an extensive report by Richard Heeks at Manchester University (pdf), a few hundred thousand Asian workers are now employed in gold farming in a trade worth up to 730 million a year. With so many gamers now online, these industries are estimated to have a consumer base of five million to 10 million, and numbers are expected to grow with widening internet access. Recently, the Chinese government started taxing gold farmers.

Games become jobs. And where there’s a demand, China will supply it.

Via: Guardian. Related: Cellphone minutes: the next currency, Wow funeral gets ambushed, Millionaire in Second Life, Online gamers unmasked, WoWoW.

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LED Religion

The Catholic Church is not exactly renowned for its progressive attitude towards technological progress. Just think of the belligerent attitude the Church still has towards contemporary next nature phenomena like condom use, the anti–conception pill or gay marriage and you’ll get the drift. When it comes to fund raising, however, the Church tends to be more technologically progressive.

During a recent visit of the Central Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, I spotted these LED based wake lights, which seamlessly replace the wax candles traditionally used to make your prayer tangible. Apparently the God fearing people in control of the Church decided there is no noteworthy spiritual difference between LED’s and burning candles?

So far so good: praying is entirely about the intention of the individual making the prayer and a LED system is …

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Norwegian Boy saves Sister from Moose Attack using World of Warcraft Skills

Hans Jørgen Olsen, a 12-year-old Norwegian boy, saved himself and his sister from a moose attack using skills he picked up playing the online role playing game World of Warcraft..

Hans and his sister got into trouble after they had trespassed the territory of the moose during a walk in the forest near their home. When the moose attacked them, Hans knew the first thing he had to do was ‘taunt’ and provoke the animal so that it …

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