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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A Conversation with Kevin Kelly

You have a choice dear reader: spend 3 seconds scanning this blogpost, or spend the full 1:11:28 minutes listening to the interview John Brockman did with technology philosopher and founding editor of Wired Magazine, Kevin Kelly.

The interview touches upon the nature of technology, big data, surveillance society, money as a medium, techno-literacy and the question whether the universe is analog or digital.

The video is best experienced as radio, or you can read the transcript here.


Old Nature Strikes Back

Geology isn’t always slow. Last month a huge boulder rolled down a mountain in northern Italy and turned a barn into splinters as it narrowly missed a farmhouse. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the event. Via NPR.


Biological Bakery

Here is one for the niche of poppy-science-synthetic-biology-candy lovers.

For the Aussie pop band Architecture In Helsinki artists Lucy McRae and Rachel Wingfield made a edible DIY bio fab–lab called the Biological Bakery. Using familiar baking processes that merge the mass production of food with the representation of the body, a production line of miniaturized band members are transformed into edible, cloned body parts that are dipped and rotated on mass in huge vats of bacterial skin. Now try this at home folks!


The Sunrise is Now Televised in Beijing

According to the Daily Mail the smog in Beijing has become so thick that only place to hail a sunrise is on the huge digital commercial television screens across the city.

Last week the reading for particles of PM2.5 pollution was 26 times as high as the 25 micrograms considered safe by the World Health Organization.

In response to the poor air conditions Beijing’s mayor pledged to cut coal use by 2.6 million tonnes and set aside 15 billion yuan to improve air quality this year as part of the city’s ‘all-out effort’ to tackle air pollution.

Thanks Andrea Graziano.


Join the Bio Art & Design Awards

So, you are well aware that biotech will drive our evolution, you took the crash course on synthetic genomics, you’ve got your map of the DNA world in your backpack and are now eager to redesign some microbes that turn waste into energy, eat plastic, detect flu, or build a better being altogether? You have a brilliant project plan already, but only need some – let say– euro 25.000 and a bit of help from a research group to turn your vision into reality? We have cake for you.

Read more


Pepsi Aubergine

Occasionally you bump into an image that seems related to our next nature quest, but you are unable to verbalize. If you have an idea, please enlighten us dear intelligent readers. For now it is our peculiar image of the week. Thanks Selby.


Let the Drones take care of the Biosphere

Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? The people of conversationdrones.org employ drones to survey wildlife, monitor ecosystems and guard protected areas.

Although there is still a ‘boys with toys’ element to the practice, the idea to employ the technosphere to support the biosphere must be applauded.

Innovative Nostalgia

Innovative Nostalgia

A battle is underway between designers and engineers; at stake is the design of our technological future. It rages subtly like a moorland fire. Koert van Mensvoort adds fuel to the flames, but also offers a solution. The impact of new technology on our lives is hard to overestimate. Read more

drone survival guide
Wild Systems

The Drone Survival Guide

Our ancestors could spot natural predators from far by their silhouettes. Are we equally aware of the predators in the present-day? As robotic birds will become commonplace in the near future, we should be prepared to identify them. Get into twenty-first century bird spotting with The Drone Survival guide.

The downloadable guide is an attempt to familiarize people with a changing technological environment. It contains the silhouettes of the most common drone species. It is also possible to order a copy printed on Chromolux ALU-E mirrored paper that, according to designer Ruben Pater, can be used as a defense against drone cameras because of its mirrored surface.

Prepare yourself for next natural predators. After reading the guide your follow up step could be to get a drone hunting permit.


Spy Agencies Infiltrate in Online Games

Gamers in on line environments like World of Warcraft and Second Life may have had encounters with secret agents. The Guardian reports American and British spy agencies have infiltrated into major online environments, suspecting that terrorist were hiding among the elves and goblins.

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Manufactured Animals

Delivery Drones Are Coming

Drones are typically thought of as flying spying robots, or even worse flying spying shooting robots. But could we also employ drones for good? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos certainly thinks so. In a 60 Minutes interview, he announced that Amazon wants to use octocopters to deliver your order within a half hour at any location you choose.

Read more


Squared Romanticism

Initially you seem to be looking at just another clichéd landscape painting, but then you discover the branches are squared and things become more interesting.

Is this perhaps a recently discovered late Mondrian painting in which the master of abstraction returned to his landscape painting roots? Or was the tree transported in a square box, before it was planted there to satisfy our longing for a natural landscape?

The squared tree leaves you with the uncanny feeling that the naturalness we habitually indulge in, is merely an illusion presented by a system that aims to remain invisible itself.

Our peculiar image of the week was created by Persijn Broersen & Margit Lucács.


Neo-Evolution with Harvey Fineberg

In his TED moment of fame, medical ethicist Dr. Harvey Fineberg presents three paths forward for the ever-evolving human species: 1. to stop evolving completely, 2. to evolve naturally, or 3. to control the next steps of human evolution using genetic modification, to make ourselves smarter, faster, smaller, better. According to Fineberg, the third scenario, also denoted as neo-evolution, is within our grasp. But what will we do with it? From a next nature perspective, which I guess Dr Fineberg is not familiar with, the term co-evolution is the elephant in the room.


Drones Swarm While We Sleep

This mesmerizing drone ballet was brought to you by Kmel Robotics and Lexus. Although, if you are living in Afghanistan or in some other gloomy future, the idea of drones entering your living environment while you sleep might feel less poetic and the waking face of the car at the end may evoke anthropomorphobic shivers.

Thanks Liam Young.

Food Technology

Care for a Meat Flower Amuse?

While vegetarian food products typically mimic existing meat products, the meat flower reverses this principle: In vitro technology is used to grow meat in the shape of a flower.

The Meat Flower is illustrative for the diminishing of borders between ‘meat’ and ‘vegetarian’ due to emerging technology: although the cultured meat is grown from animal cells, no animals are hurt and injured in the process.

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