Next Nature Interview
For the Venezuelan Magazine Platanoverde, Gabriela Valdivieso y Lope Gutiarrez-Ruiz interviewed artist/scientist Koert van Mensvoort and discussed some of the idea’s behind Next Nature and their implications on art, design, sex, religion and what it means to be human.
Who are the creators of Next Nature? Who is behind the project nowadays?
Sometimes I wonder. We are explorers, inherits of the courageous of the past, who sailed through unknown oceans, climbed mountains, or rocketed themselves into space. We are exploring Next Nature. Our project took off in 2004 with an essay I wrote in which I argued our established view on nature had become problematic and proposed the concept of culturally emerged nature. In the last few years together with designer Mieke Gerritzen I’ve organized various events in the Netherlands and Germany on the topic of Next Nature. We also created the -now outdated- Next Nature pocket book. Later we initiated the website www.nextnature.net which functions as a place to gather materials, ideas and examples. Currently the core people involved besides myself are, Arnoud van den Heuvel, Rolf Coppens, Hendrik-Jan Grievink, Mieke Gerritzen. For the coming year we are planning on organizing an event in Los Angeles in cooperation with the Art Center school of Design, Pasadena, which focuses on the question how we should design for Next Nature. We actively seek to discover how people from other countries and cultures perceive the theme and its consequences on how we design, build and live.
How would you define Next Nature: A theory? A position? An interpretation of reality?
It is a way of looking; an interpretation of reality.
What authors or artists have inspired the Next Nature concept?
Some philosophical inspirations came from Baudrillard’s concept of hyperreality (the idea that our world is filled with simulations of things which never really existed). If one thinks through the implications of hyperreality, one automatically arrives at something like hypernature or nextnature. Another influence is the unavoidable Marshall Mcluhan, whom I consider as a nextnature thinker avant la lettre.