Goodbye, Nature vs Nurture

Talking about nature and nurture as separate, clear-cut forces is far adrift from the complexities of developmental science, says Evelyn Fox Keller in NewScientist.

ONE of the most striking features of the nature/nurture debate, the argument over the relative roles of genes and environment in human nature, is the frequency with which we read it has been resolved (the answer is neither nature nor nurture, but both) while at the same time we see the debate refuses to die. So what is it that evokes such contradictory claims, that persists in confounding us? Indeed, what is the debate really about?

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Spot of the Month: Arbor Artificialis Naturalis

Our first spot of the month was made by Tijn Kooijmans, who pinpointed the first Dutch Arbor Artificialis Naturalis planted in 1999 by telecom provider Libertel.

You too can share your favorite and most peculiar nextnature spots in your surroundings via our nextnature spotter for iPhone. Who knows your submission will be the spot of the month someday which means fame & goodies. Congratulations Tijn, T-shirt and DVD are coming your way.

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Infotizement Call For Entries

In anticipation of the forthcoming Next Nature book, we call upon you, dearest creatives, to submit a fictitious editorial advertisement: The Infotizement.

The infotizement is a new editorial typology that is the exact opposite of the advertorial, which presents itself as editorial content but is in fact an advertisement in disguise. The infotizement presents itself as an ad and aggressively exploits the visual language of advertising – but rather than trying to sell you something, it conveys a story, message or statement.

Sounds nice, but what’s in it for me?
The best infotizements will be published in the forthcoming Next Nature book (see below) and the submitters of selected infotizements receive a free copy. Additionally, the top 3 submissions are awarded with a Next Nature goodie package, including a DVD, icon watch, and t-shirt.
How to contribute?
Take the following in consideration when submitting:

– Download the Infotizement Call For Entries pdf file (852Kb)
– Take a post or observation from as inspiration, this gives your infotizement focus
– Use the classical elements of advertising: image, payoff (slogan) and logo (sender)
– Give your infotizement a corporate feel: high-quality, seductive imagery, packshots, commercial typesetting etc.
– Use and misuse corporate logos, or invent your own
– Study the examples in this pdf
– Page size = 40p x 56p (170 x 238mm)
– Margins =3p (12,7mm)
– Bleed on every side: 1p (= 5mm)
– Image quality preferrably 300 dpi / 100% size
– If you use other people’s images, please include image credits, or a source/url
where you found the used material so that we can clear the rights.
– Send your submission before friday oktober 22nd, 2010 to:

Your infotizements will be judged by a jury consisting of Koert van Mensvoort and Hendrik-Jan Grievink (editors of the Next Nature book), Arnoud van den Heuvel (editor, Rolf Coppens (editor, Mieke Gerritzen (designer and director of the Graphic Design Museum Breda, NL) and Dagan Cohen (creative director at Draftfcb).

Digital mockup of the Next Nature book.

About the book
In a highly visual, magazine-style way, the Next Nature book combines re-edited material from with new material such as maps, graphs, visual essays and written contributions by Next Nature mavericks such as Kevin Kelly, Bruce Sterling, Rachel Armstrong, Peter Lunenfeld and Tracy Metz.

– Circulation: 4.000 copies
– Editing and design: Koert van Mensvoort and Hendrik-Jan Grievink
– Volume: 448 pages over seven chapters
– Binding: seven separate magazines, glued together in one softcover volume
– Release date: 2011
– Publisher: Actar, Barcelona

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Nextnature Event

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.

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Nextnature Event

NANO Supermarket – Introducing the Jury

Ten days left to submit your speculative product idea for the Nano Supermarket. The jury that will select the finest submissions – to be exhibited in the Nano Supermarket this autumn and award the 2500 euro price – consist of distinguished scientists, designers, artists, critics and thinkers. Here is the list:

Prof. Dr. Bas Haring – Philosopher, Writer, Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Leiden Universtity
Prof. Dr. Bert Meijer – Distinguished University Professor in the Molecular Sciences, TU Eindhoven
Prof. Dr. ing Dave Blank – Professor Inorganic Materials Science, TU Twente
Drs. Karin Spaink – Writer, Columnist, Activist
Dr Lucien Hanssen – Academic Entrepreneur, Promoter of imagination in Science
Prof Dr. Ir. René Janssen – Professor in Physical Organic Chemistry, TU Eindhoven
Dr. Ir. Rinie van Est – Technology Assessor, Rathenau Institute
Ronald van Tienhoven – Artist, Design Educator, Social & Cultural Expert
Taco Stolk – Artist, Founder department of Genetic Design

We are proud to bring together such excellent people from such a broad spectrum of disciplines, who will undoubtedly be capable to judge the submission on their merits. If you haven’t submitted yet, download the submission form now.

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Next Nature Spotter – iPhone application

While the spotting of old nature phenomena in our surroundings – birds, insects, trees, stars, etc – has a large tradition enjoyed by millions, the spotting of next nature phenomena is still more quirky and yet to be defined.

Join our quest to explore nature caused by people. If you own an iPhone, use this free application to spot next nature phenomena around you. On a map you can see all spots that are submitted in your neighborhood and comment on them. Of course there is also an integrated blog reader and additional info on next nature including a visual essay and FAQ.

The Next Nature spotter was developed in collaboration with Studio Sophisti, with support of the Mondriaan Foundation. Comments and ideas for improvements are welcome!

p.s. Although next nature is first and foremost a philosophical view on the interrelation between people, nature and technology in the larger evolutionary game, of which we realize the effects are not always necessarily visible in a geographical sense, we still find it worthwhile to see how this reflects in our surroundings.

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Nano Supermarket – Call for Products

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.

Self–cleaning windows, contact lenses with a display, smart medicines that are delivered exactly on the spot, molecular printed food, blush–reducing make-up, self–healing anti scratch surfaces, nano-particle tagging spray that may identify your possessions when stolen, cyborg insects, breathing textiles, tooth phones, organic jewelry, implantable microprocessors and whatever you may think of.

We call upon designers, technologists and artists to submit their speculative nanotech products for the NANO supermarket. A selection of the projects will be presented in the Nano Supermarket and the accompanying publication. The best submission is awarded with a € 2500 price

Event website:

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Back to the Tribe

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.”

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Nextnature Event

Nature Transformer – Microwave Festival 2009

If you happen to be in the neighborhood, you may want to attend that inspirational Next Nature lecture Dr. Van Mensvoort will be throwing this Sunday 15-11-2009 at the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival in Hong Kong.

The festival is highly resonating on the nature caused by people. They will also screen parts of the Next Nature DVD and reprint the Real Nature is not Green essay. Nature transforms along with us!

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Nextnature Event

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.

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Nextnature Event

Ars Electronica Festival goes Next Nature


This years edition of the Ars Electronica festival, which has been hangout for international experts from the arts and sciences for almost three decades, focuses on the nature caused by people:

Human Nature: The Reinvention of Nature

We are entering a new age here on Earth: the Anthropocene. An age definitively characterized by humankind’s massive and irreversible influences on our home planet. Population explosion, climate change, the poisoning of the environment and our venturing into outer space have been the most striking symbols of this development so far.

But to a much more enormous extent, the achievements of genetic engineering and biotechnology are the truly indicative markers of this transition to a new epoch. Now, we’re not only changing our environment; we’re revising the fundamentals of life itself—even our own human life.

Among the works on display are the Cloned robot professor, Flesh nike, Living doll, Cloned beef, human body farming and conductive bodypaint.

Ars Electronica 2009: Human Nature is organized from September 3rd – 8th in Linz, Austria.

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Fake for Real Memory Game

The Fake for Real Memory Game consists of 60 cards that playfully visualize the classical theme of Fake vs Real. Is everything that was once directly experienced in our media society now replaced by simulations? Or are reproduction and imitation naturally part of life? Can you tell the fake from the real? See for yourself. Fake For Real!

The Fake for Real Memory Game can now be purchased at our store.

Design: Hendrik Jan-Grievink. Text: Koert van Mensvoort. Editorial team: Koert van Mensvoort, Hendrick-Jan Grievink, Mieke Gerritzen, Arnoud van den Heuvel, Rolf Coppens, and Edwin Degenhart.  Produced by ALLMEDIA @ 2008.

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Nextnature Event

Webby Awards

How sweet. is a Webby Awards honoree.

‘As a result of the superior quantity and quality of sites entered, the 13th Annual Webby Awards recognized sites and teams that demonstrated a standard of excellence.’

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A Future Love Story


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.

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Nextnature Event

Nextnature pocket outdated – buy it cheap

nextnature pocket

Remember the Next Nature pocket, featuring a 140 page trip of visions and statements from thinkers from around the globe on their explorations in next nature?

We now consider that funky little booklet officially outdated. There will be no future reprints and the current leftovers are on sale for the giveaway price of € 5,00 through the website of Bis Publishers (shipping not included), or you can get it for $7,00 at Amazon.

We are working on a new bigger and better publication on Next Nature, to be released in 2010.

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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.

Written by Slavoj Žižek, Via, via Volume.

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:

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Next Nature @ Volume Magazine

volume cover
The latest issue of Volume magazine aims to re-investigate sustainability after zero. Originally a wacko, hippy-esque ideology, ‘sustainability’ – aka ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green’ – has now become globally accepted. But as what – an environmental urgency, a political issue, a technical problem, a historic destiny, a new world order? And what are the consequences of this acceptance?

The magazine features a visual essay by Koert van Mensvoort, a Pig Story by Christien Meindertsma, an Oil Story by Harriet Russell, written contributions by Arjen Oosterman, Slavoj Zizek, Amir Djalali, Thomas Daniell and the familiar corporate animal field by Karl Grandin on the cover. Thus recommended. Order here.

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Humans Are the Sex Organs of Technology

Written by Kevin Kelly, published in The Technium

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.

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Nextnature Event


Real Nature is not Green DVD
This week we are sneak previewing our forthcoming compilation DVD featuring the best of the Biggest Visual Power Shows at the Picnic 08 – E-art event on 24,25,26 September at Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam. Buckle up for over twenty visions on the nature caused by human culture…

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