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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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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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).


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.


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?


Hug & Pay

The rise of digital currencies reduces the need for physical interaction and communication between people. At the same time every payment method still leans on trust. But how can we trust what we can not physically touch, smell or hear?

Artist Heidi Hinder envisions a payment method that brings back personal contact between people: hug & pay. Indeed, paying with a hug. But also pay with a handshake, a high five, and even with a tap dance.

For her project she uses RFID tags and readers that are worn by the customer and the seller. The payment data is transmitted by physical contact.

The project was awarded with a grant from the Awesome Foundation London, which allows Heidi to develop her concept further. We are already anticipating bithugs as a new digital-physical currency.

Via Hetkanwel.net


Gamers Care as Much for Their Avatar as for Their Best Friend

According to a study by brain researchers, regular gamers identify so strongly with their avatar – the character that executes their action in the game – they have the same emotions for their avatar as for their best friends.

Emotionally the avatar has a similar position as ones best friend, despite its “virtual” presence and the often longer lasting relationship with ones best friend, says neuroscientist Shanti Ganesh, who just defended her phd thesis on the topic.

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Boomeranged Metaphors

Virtual Offline Shopping

Remember those good old days days when you were actually carrying goods out of the racks in a shop? If the Korean Virtual Shopping Store becomes a success, all shop shelves will soon be LCD Screens.

Customers simply choose their desired items by touching the LCD screen and checkout at the counter in the end to have all their ordered stuff packed in bags. Image consumption in the overdrive. Thanks Arnoud.


Brick Era

By crafting brick objects in the shape of traditional stones, artist Maarten van den Eijnde, makes us realize that human presence has expanded the variety of stones found on the planet.

According to the artist these bricks will probably survive us, since they have been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout human history. Peculiar image of the week.

Food Technology

La Surconsommation

For those who “eat meat, but don’t like in-vitro meat, because it is so unnatural”. Please spend 5 min to watch this video and change your thinking.

You were watching the surconsummation fragment (French for overconsumption) from the Samsara, a documentary in the tradition of next nature classic Koyaanisqatsi.

Thanks Arnoud, Thanks Ehsan.


Organic Coke Arrives

Five years ago we presented a speculative product called Organic Coke to stir a discussion on the use of natural imagery to market products. Last year we reported on an internal presentation of the Coca-Cola company that analyzed the opportunities of Organic Coke. Guess what? This month the soda-giant launches healthier and eco-friendlier option to consumers. They call it: Cola Life.

Coca-Cola Life’ is said to be an all-natural, low-calorie soda packaged in a fully-recyclable plant-based bottle. The drink is made with a mixture of sugar and stevia-based substitute, and contains two times fewer calories than regular Coke. The all organic sugar drink is launched in Argentina, with total world domination soon to follow. The website is a schoolbook parody of biomimic marketing, except that it is not a parody.

Organic Coke: Camouflage color in the Grass.
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The Fence

This illustration by Daniel Quinn gives us a satirical yet bona fide view on our changing relation with nature. Oddly enough the illustrator presents all human activity as blank space. As if we are merely reducing complexity and slowly but steadily turning the planet into Mars. Obviously, the blank planet does adds to the comical effect, yet one might just as well argue complexity on the planet increases as a result of our human presence. No?

Thanks for the heads up Geoff Hamilton.