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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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Humane-Technology

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.

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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.

world-of-warcraft
Digital-Presence

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.

Read more

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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

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Hypernature

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.

Designed-by-Evolution

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.

Anthropomorphobia

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.

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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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Back to the Tribe

Tristes Tropiques

Back in 1955 French cultural anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss0 published Tristes Tropiques, a book documenting his encounters with Brazilian tribes. Some 65 years later, artists Laurence Aëgerter & Ronald van Tienhoven set out for a reenactment with a group of inhabitants from Beetsterzwaag, a village in the region of Frysia (NL).

The photo’s learn us that, although we might feel our lives differ greatly from those of our ancestors, some of the most important aspect of life remain unchanged.

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Designed-by-Evolution

Buckle up for Black Sky Thinking

So you might have heard about the Technological Singularity, but did you ever wonder what happens after the fact? Black Sky thinking is a term that is being developed to shape an approach for dealing with unfamiliar territories – both real and conceptual.

Black Sky thinking seeks to understand more about our situation without prejudging or even needing to know the future. It travels into the unknown, not as a reckless gesture but as a creative act, so that we may envision the world we wish to inhabit. This does not mean that anything goes, but rather, signals a fresh exploration of things we thought we knew, so that we can look and imagine afresh.

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Manufactured Animals

Wild Ones

Typically when we look at nature we exclude ourselves. Finally there is a book looking at people looking at animals (in America).

Hypernature

Andras Forgacs on Victimless Leather

At the end of his TED talk, tissue engineer and entrepreneur Andras Forgacs receives presumably the very first standing ovation on the TED stage for a speaker arguing that lab grown meat and leather is a civilized way to move beyond slaughtering animals for hamburgers and handbags.

Forgacs is the co-founder and CEO of Modern Meadow, a company developing novel biomaterials. These include cultured meat and leather which, as they put it, “will require no animal slaughter and much lower inputs of land, water, energy and chemicals”.

According to Forgacs, bioengineered victimless leather is a gateway towards the acceptance of bioengineering meat. Could be, yet before we can decide if we will ever be willing to eat bioengineered meat, we need to explore the food culture it will bring us.

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Co-Evolution

Meet The Tongue Parasite

In our culture, nature is generally depicted as a beautiful spectacle that is romanticized as a positive force. Time to shed some light on its darker sides. Meet Cymothoa exigua, aka the tongue parasite. You’ll never be alone again once it crawls into your mouth (if you’re a fish). This parasitic crustacean will eat and replace your tongue:

When one of these crustaceans encounters a rose snapper, it enters the fish’s mouth and steadily devours the fish’s tongue. Once it has done this, the crustacean uses hooks on its underside to attach itself to the floor of the fish’s mouth and thereafter serves as a replacement tongue.

Cymothoa exigua is strictly speaking off-topic as it is an old nature rather than a next nature phenomenon. Nonetheless it is a good example of the extreme crudeness of old nature, which we hardly ever encounter among the biomimic marketed products in the supermarket.

Readers question: Does a next nature equivalent of Cymothoa exigua exist and if so, what would it be?