koert_van_mensvoort_2008

Koert van Mensvoort

Creative Director
Artist and philosopher. The discovery of Next Nature has been the most profound experience in his life so far.
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Anthropomorphobia

Close Personal Friend

Here’s one for the retro-trendwatchers. This 24-minute self-directed film was made in 1996 by artist-writer Douglas Coupland as a portrait of postmodern culture. Soon after it was abandoned and forgotten, yet if you watch it now it is striking how the film anticipates contemporary phenomena like social media and self-branding. You may want to spend 24-minutes on this Close Personal Friend.

Kitchen-meat-incubator-Daniel-Ong_nextnature_lab
Food Technology

Eating In-Vitro: Kitchen Meat Incubator

The Kitchen Meat Incubator does for home cooking what the electronic synthesizer did for the home musician. It provides its users with a set of pre-programmed samples that can be remixed and combined to their liking. Besides the preparation of traditional styles like steak, sausage or meatballs, consumers can bring their own imagination to the meat preparation process. The handy sliders on the device control size, shape and texture. More expensive models of the Kitchen Meat Incubator also come with a wireless link that allows you to download meat recipes from the internet or share them with friends.

Designed by Daniel Ong for the Eating in Vitro series.

Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

Augmented-Bodies

Donor Organ Shortage? Let’s Print Them

Another step in the fusion of the made & the born: Biological physicist Gabor Forgacs envisions to “print” new organs for use in clinical trials. Similar to an inkjet printer, Forgacs and his team use bio-ink particles to print living cells that sequentially organize themselves into a more complex tissue structures. Since the organ is printed from your own cells, chances of rejection should be minimal.

magic_meatballs_mark_kanters_nextnature_lab
Food Technology

Eating in Vitro: Magic Meatballs

Magic Meatballs are designed to playfully familiarize children with lab-grown meat. Young people are more prone to overconsumption of proteins and fats, and are more sensitive to the hormones and antibiotics used in conventional meat production. Luckily, lab-grown Magic Meatballs can be tailored precisely to a child’s individual needs.

The basic meat consists solely of animal protein, and the combination of fats, omega-3s and vitamins is completely customizable. Colors and flavors can also be added to the neutral base to make the meat change color or crackle in your mouth. Magic Meatballs actively involve kids with the meat they eat, so that future generations will more readily accept protein grown in labs.

Designed by Mark Kanters for the Eating in Vitro series.

Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

engineered_meat
Food Technology

Meat, the Expectations

As the planet’s population speeds towards 9 billion, it’s becomes impossible to continue consuming meat like we do today. Will we all be eating rice and beans? Grasshoppers perhaps? Scientists hope to keep us eating vertebrate protein with in vitro meat. Grown in bioreactors from animal cells, in vitro meat could be a sustainable and humane alternative to raising a whole animal from birth to slaughter. The first lab-grown hamburger is expected within the next few months.

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pixel camouflaged tank
Boomeranged Metaphors

Pixelated Camouflage for Digital Warfare?

Unsure whether this tank escaped from an 8-bit videogame or the general that ordered the pixelated camouflage pattern didn’t quite quite understand what digital warfare is all about. Anyhow, it is our peculiar image of the week.

desire_path
Guided Growth

Desire Paths

Design by planning vs design by doing. Desire paths are unplanned paths grown by the erosion of its use. They emerge as shortcuts where constructed pathways take a circuitous route. Perhaps one day, all our roads will be desire paths.

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Biomimicry

Latro Algae Lamp

As advances in nanotechnology bring us increasingly energy efficient products, plant life such as algae could become attractive sources for tapping energy. The Latro lamp by designer Mike Thompson is a speculative product responding to this potential future market. It utilizes living algae as its power source.

The idea was inspired by a scientific breakthrough by scientists from Yansei and Stanford University that allows a small electrical current to be drawn from algae during photosynthesis. Placing the lamp outside in the daylight, the algae use sunlight to synthesize foods from CO2 and water.

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BACARDI FLAVORED RUMS DRAGON BERRY(TM)
Biomimicmarketing

Selling Rum with Dragons, Berries & Bats

We remain startled by the continuous employement of ‘natural’ images to market products. Bacardi Rum wins the triple biomimicmarketing award with their latest dragon-berry mix. Apparently the marketeers of Bacardi expect the combination of bats, berries and dragons to successfully promote the alcoholic sugar drink.

According to the ingredients list the drink does indeed contains both strawberry and dragonfruit substrates. The bats are missing, however, they’re merely added to the marketing mix to metaphorically enforce the association with night live.

Bacardi furthermore recommends to enjoy the drink with ginger ale for a quadruple biomimicmarketing mix of Dragons, Berries, Bats, Ginger and Headaches. Image consumption in the overdrive. Cheers folks!

early_mobile_phone_prototype
Augmented-Bodies

Mobile Phone Avant La Lettre

Our peculiar image of the week is exemplary of our human longing for technology that intimately integrates with our body & senses. We are all cyborgs.

Economology

Dan Barber on the Ultimate Fish Farm

Chef Dan Barber discusses a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu? With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles the discovery of a unique open-ended and utmost sustainable fish farm in Spain.
Idea worth spreading: Embrace complexity and guide its growth.

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Genetic-surprises

Post Natural Organisms of the EU

If you happen to be in the neighborhood you might want to drop by at the exhibition Post Natural Organisms of the European Union in Amsterdam. The small but delicate expo, curated by the good people of the Center for Post Natural History, presents eleven specimens of organisms that were intentionally altered by humans via domestication, selective breeding or genetic engineering. Think alcoholic rats, genetically modified wheat, a chihuahua, anti-malarial mosquitoes and a rib-less mouse embryo (image above).

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lowlands
Design-for-debate

NANO Supermarket at Lowlands Festival

This weekend some of our sustainable, energy related, NANO Supermarket products are exhibited at the lustrous Lowlands popfestival. Come visit us at the Llowlab to charge your phone on our bio-electric bonsai tree, admire the algae lamp or the new energy belt that harvests sustainable energy from your belly fat to power electric devices you are carrying on or in your body. Design fiction ahoy!

Prototyping the Energybelt. How about turning your belly-fat into electricity?

Festival crowd charging their phones on the 'bio-electrical' bonsai tree.

Genetic-surprises

Rayfish CEO Responds to Break-In by Animal Rights Activists

A few days ago we wrote about the animal rights activists that broke into the Rayfish Footwear fish farm and stole the entire stock of genetically modified stingrays that the company was growing into bio-personalized sneakers.

The company now released a video in which their CEO, Raymond Ong, discusses the controversy around their product. He believes that “the issues that have surfaced since his company website was launched, reflect the complexity of our consumptive relationship with animals.” and calls the robbery an “irresponsible act that will have unforeseen consequences for years to come”.

The CEO furthermore claims the highest standards of wellbeing for both his stingrays and his workers, steering the debate towards the question whether it is more unethical to buy a pair of expensive handmade sneakers you know were “raised” for your own personal satisfaction, or to buy cheap disposable sneakers made by underpaid workers from cow leather “raised” under deplorable conditions.

“Most of us have become complete strangers to the products that surround us”, Ong said. The CEO also noted his concern that the genetically modified stingrays may interbreed with wild populations. Speaking of nature caused by people…

jet_powered_barbecue
Back to the Tribe

Jet Powered Barbecue

At first sight it seems plain wrong to roast your burgers on this utterly technological machine: barbecuing is supposed to be a nostalgic low-tech activity that brings us back to nature and sooths our inner caveman.

Yet although we, 21th century people, consider barbecuing a more natural way of cooking food than our everyday microwave, at some point in our human history – most anthropologists estimate around 250,000 years ago – cooking food on fires was a radically new technological achievement: a handy technique to extend our stomach and predigest our food before it would enter our body.

Cooking is perhaps the greatest example of how that what was once a technological achievement may be naturalized over time – up to the level that we don’t recognize it as technology anymore and think of it as part of our nature. Think about it next time you place a burger on the grill, or in the molecular food printer for that matter.

Image source.