Nano Supermarket – Jury Report
Nanotechnology is an important emerging technology of our time – it radically intervenes with our sense of what is natural – yet most people are still relatively unaware of its consequences. Hence, this autumn 2010 the Next Nature NANO Supermarket will be presented in Eindhoven (NL): a physical supermarket featuring debate–provoking visions on possible nanotech products expected to hit the shelves between today and 2020.
Designers, technologists and artists were called to submit their speculative nanotech products for the NANO supermarket. A selection of these projects will be presented in the NANO Supermarket and the accompanying publication. On Thursday, June 10th, a NANO Supermarket jury consisting of design and science experts awarded the best submission a € 2,500 prize. Furthermore, three submissions have been awarded an Honorable Mention in recognition of the quality of their project proposals.
The Playboy Interview
In 1961, the name of Marshall McLuhan was unknown to everyone but his English students at the University of Toronto — and a coterie of academic admirers who followed his abstruse articles in small-circulation quarterlies. But then came two remarkable books — The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and Understanding Media (1964) — and the graying professor from Canada’s western hinterlands soon found himself characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the hottest academic property around.”
Next Nature DVD
A DVD with over twenty visions of artists, scientists, designers, filmmakers and thinkers who present their powerful imagery, radical ideas and visionary statements on how we can design, build and live in the nature caused by people.
Filmed during the Biggest Visual Power Shows at Paradiso, Amsterdam (NL), Zeche Zolverein (DE) and the Million Dollar Theater in Los Angeles (USA). The DVD box contains a booklet including the essay Real Nature is not Green. Among the presenters are Floris Kaayk, Kevin Kelly, Tobie Kerridge, Jack van Wijk, Sunny Bergman, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, Karl Grandin, Casey Alt, Amir Admoni, Jos de Mul, Tracy Metz, Henk Oosterling and many more.
Real Nature is Not Green can now be purchased at our store.
A Future Love Story
By MARCEL VAN DER DRIFT.
Ten years from now, a cell phone gently sinks to the bottom of the river. It’s one of the latest models. The clever design, trendy colours and nifty features make our cell phones look ancient. Everything about it is new. Cell phone isn’t even the right name for it. It’s hard to describe exactly what it is. So I won’t.
Anyway, this phone, for lack of a better word, belongs to Steve, who is on the bridge, feeling generally depressed, but for the moment happy to be rid of his phone. It was a powerful gesture.
Ecology – A New Opium for the Masses
Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek discusses the ‘naturalization’ of capitalism and how ecology became a new field of capitalist investment. He also argues that the ultimate consequence of recent developments in biogenetics will be the ‘end of nature’ – anyone cares to introduce the good man into nextnature thinking? According to Žižek ecological apartheid will divide our urban society. Capitalism is not in control of nature and due to techno-scientific interventions the essence of the ecological order will be lost.
Marco Cicala, a Leftist Italian journalist, told me about his recent weird experience: when, in an article, he once used the word “capitalism,” the editor asked him if the use of this term is really necessary – could he not replace it by a synonymous one, like “economy”? What better proof of the total triumph of capitalism than the virtual disappearance of the very term in the last 2 or 3 decades? No one, with the exception of a few allegedly archaic Marxists, refers to capitalism any longer. The term was simply struck from the vocabulary of politicians, trade unionists, writers and journalists – even of social scientists… But what about the upsurge of the anti-globalization movement in the last years? Does it not clearly contradict this diagnostic? No: a close look quickly shows how this movement also succumbs to “the temptation to transform a critique of capitalism itself (centered on economic mechanisms, forms of work organization, and profit extraction) into a critique of ‘imperialism’.” In this way, when one talks about “globalization and its agents,” the enemy is externalized (usually in the form of vulgar anti-Americanism). From this perspective, where the main task today is to fight “the American empire,” any ally is good if it is anti-American, and so the unbridled Chinese “Communist” capitalism, violent Islamic anti-modernists, as well as the obscene Lukashenko regime in Belarus may appear as progressive anti-globalist comrades-in-arms… What we have here is thus another version of the ill-famed notion of “alternate modernity”: instead of the critique of capitalism as such, of confronting its basic mechanism, we get the critique of the imperialist “excess,” with the (silent) notion of mobilizing capitalist mechanisms within another, more “progressive,” frame.
So what is the problem here? It is easy to make fun of Fukuyama’s notion of the End of History, but the majority today is “Fukuyamaian”: liberal-democratic capitalism is accepted as the finally-found formula of the best possible society, all one can do is to render it more just, tolerant, etc. The only true question today is: do we endorse this “naturalization” of capitalism, or does today’s global capitalism contain strong enough antagonisms which will prevent its indefinite reproduction? There are three (or, rather, four) such antagonisms:
Humans Are the Sex Organs of Technology
I claim that technology has its own agenda. What is the evidence that technology as a whole, or the technium as I call it, is autonomous? Because without autonomy, one could argue, how can something have its own agenda? I have three parts to my answer.
First, I believe that a system can have an agenda even when it depends upon another system to remain viable. Let’s take the human mind and human culture. Obviously humans are animals, and just another creature of evolution. As a mammal, we must obey the rules of biology. We are part of the trajectory of living tissue: our flesh must breathe, metabolize, mate, excrete, and eventually die. The agenda of our bodies is exactly the agenda of any other animal body.
But we also claim that we are different than animals, and our effect on the earth seems to be proof of this. We build very large structures (cities) unlike any other in scale. The skyscrapers of termites and the reefs of coral are dwarfed by the skyscrapers and concrete reefs of New York, even relative to their size. We have transformed the surface and eliminated other species at a scale way beyond other species. We mess with the climate on a scale few individual species can. And of course we have made many new objects and “organisms” – which no other creature has. It is clear that humans have their own agenda, which the rest of biology does not have.