Humanity is facing the disconnection between biological reproduction and the body, facilitated by the emerging technology of the Artificial Womb. Envisioned in bleak science fiction scenarios many times in the past, this technology is about to become a reality in our present. But how will it affect our culture – and how should that new culture be designed? If birds lay eggs, why shouldn’t humans do that, too?
A few days ago, these images of iconic buildings in Beijing as they look with and without intense smog have been posted on Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media platforms. Interestingly, these images speak the visual language of augmented reality apps, in which an additional layer of information is projected on top of the perceptible environment as seen through the lens of a camera, usually on a hand-held device. But in this particular case, an interesting reversal seems to take place.
Some days ago, this image was posted on Reddit.com with the alluring title “This image was generated by a computer on its own (from a friend working on AI)”. It portrays a computer generated representation of what seems to be some kind of squirrel-meets-sea-lion-meets-slug-type of creature.
Time measurement tools are perhaps among the most inventive technologies mankind has produced, as it enables us to articulate ‘natural’ time (in the form of lunar years, sun eclipse, tidal waves, seasons and of course the day and night rhythm) in measurable units of milliseconds, hours, days, weeks months and years. A process most of us tend to perceive as ‘natural’ but is in fact highly constructed. A calendar year has just passed and a new one has just started, time goes by but evolution goes on. I wish you a very livable Next Nature and a happy new year!
Image: ‘Flowerworks’ by Sarah Illenberger (photography: Sabrina Rynas)
In 1964, NASA developed a new material consisting of a thin sheet of plastic, coated with a metallic reflecting agent. A thin sheet of plastic coated with a metallic reflecting agent proved resistance to the hostile space environment, large temperature range and resistance to ultraviolet radiation. As a spinoff, this material is now widely used as ‘survival’ blanket in emergency situations or extreme sports, usually to protects its users against forces of ‘old’ nature (cold, heat, rain, wind).
This Next Nature Survival Blanket however, protects against the forces of next nature: drone attacks, electrosmog, internet fail, et cetera.
Concept: Koert van Mensvoort, Hendrik-Jan Grievink
Design: Hendrik-Jan Grievink
The Next Nature Emergency Blanket is especially developed for the exhibition Welcome to the Anthropocene: The Earth in Our Hands at the Deutsches Museum in Munich (Germany) which runs from December 5, 2014 to January 31, 2016.
People have complex relationships with their own (and other’s) bodies. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is believed that your feet are a map of your body and can provide valuable information about your physical condition – when you are able to read them, of course.
Some people experience ghost limbs that have long been amputated, or have out-of-body experiences, whereas prosthesis can feel completely natural. On the other hand, many people experience a sense of detachment, or alienation, by the technology that surrounds them. Will we ever experience technology not only as extensions of our body, but as part of our body? Peculiar image by Lieke de Blank.
Sexy girls and organ meat was never a good combination to me, but the people from Black Milk Clothing that created this swimsuit seem to think it makes a pretty nice product. Am I too post-human already to understand, or is it just my anthropomorphobia that plagues me?
The image above depicts two seemingly Indian men sitting in front of what looks like an improvised temple or shrine for the hindu goddess Saraswati. What makes the image curious, is that the façade of the temple is constructed from a large-scale print of a Facebook Wall, dedicated to the deity. Do we have a Boomeranged Metaphor here or is it time to coin a new term: the Reincarnated Interface?
You walk into a shopping mall, your intentions firmly focused on finding a sensible pair of shoes or a replacement t-shirt. You glance around, suddenly disorientated by the visual cacophony of stores, carts, water fountains and crowds. Hours later, you leave the mall laden with bags of stuff you didn’t plan on buying. What happened?
The Jerde transfer refers to shopping center design that is intentionally confusing and overstimulating. According to the sociologist Giandomenico Amendola, “Amplification, bombardment of the senses, entertainment, are the means by which City Walk or Fremont Street change the modern flaneur into an addicted consumer… Design principles [of the Jerde transfer] are chaos and incoherence…” Commercial structures that might seem designed for utility or convenience are actually created in order to manipulate us into opening our wallets. Welcome to the natural habitat of capitalism.
Image via The Daily Mail.
As technology progresses we constantly have to adapt ourselves to new gadgets, yet occasionally, we need a gadget that feeds on our nostalgic sensibilities.
Miss the soothing clacking of typewriter keys? Long for satisfying clang of a carriage return? The iTypewriter, created by industrial designer Austin Yang, adds the old-fashioned typewriter feeling to your iPad, allowing you to relive those Mad Men days, or ensure that everyone in the library hates you by the time you hit ‘send’.
Amazon.com’s fulfillment center in Rugeley, England, is a sterile kingdom where the algorithm is king – and humans do their best to perform its bidding. Workers’ every movement is dictated by a tracking algorithm, which can send them on trips of up to 24 kilometers per day on the quest for packages. The silence is total. Workers can be fired for talking, even as smiling cardboard cutouts remind them that “this is the best job I’ve ever had!”.
With zero-hour contracts – and jobs that evaporate from one day to the next – workers are treated more like cogs than humans. According to photojournalist Ben Roberts, who chronicled the Rugeley center in Amazon Unpacked, “the only reason Amazon doesn’t actually replace them with robots is they’ve yet to find a machine that can handle so many different sized packages.” It’s dismal proof that if we don’t domesticate technology, it ends up domesticating us.
Read more at Fast Company.