Office Garden

Interview: Govert Flint, Designer Applying Motion to Everyday Life

He is mostly known for his Bionic Chair, an exoskeleton chair in where the user can control a computer through body movements, but beside product design Govert Flint has worked as an architect in Shanghai, he is a self-taught artist and he’s got the moves, as you can see in this video clip of Run Boy by Keymono. In dancing he found the rationale of his work, exploring how movement can be implemented in everyday life. According to Govert “the body complements the brain” and our environment needs to be designed to that end. To emotionally release ourselves we need to stand-up – away from the computer – and move freely. However, as his Bionic Chair shows, the solution lies not in abandoning the computer but by offering alternative ways of interacting with it.

In 2014 he joined the Eindhoven-based design collective Collaboration-O and started his own studio: The Institute for Applied Motions. Today he is working with Enrichers, a company merging design with neuropsychological principles. We talked to him about the relationship between body movement and emotional expression, mind-controlled computers and more.

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Young people who are afraid of making a phone call
Society of Simulations

What Is Next Nature? #9

There is something about texting and chatting that makes it so interesting for young people. It might be that in the turbulent transition from a child to an adult text messages take away many social insecurities. The digital medium gives a sense of anonymity, and typing allows for more control over the conversation. Typing costs more time than speaking, but it permits to think about the content and to correct or rewrite something before pressing enter, managing the irrevocability of direct social contact. As children grow up using this reassuring medium they become awkward in making, for example, phone calls, where the safety net of text messages is absent.

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

wageningen-ur-crops
Food Technology

Edible Crops Grown in Martian Soil

Colonizing Mars has always been a human fantasy, and scientists now brought us a step closer to this dream. Since 2013, researchers at Wageningen University have been investigating the behavior of crops on Mars and Moon soil simulants. They demonstrated the growth and edibility of these crops, and several of them are also safe for human consumption.

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Suburban Utopia

eHighway: a Fossil-Free Alternative

A (small) revolution just happened in Sweden. The inhabitants of the coastal town of Gävle woke up to the world’s first electric-powered highway, a 1.2 mile road meant for trucks called eHighway. The electric cables feed the trucks with electricity, allowing them to travel at speeds up to 55 mph. The trucks, which carry a natural gas hybrid engine, have an antenna that collects the power and that is lowered when it’s time to disconnect.

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time as money
Wild Systems

Time Is a Universal Currency

In 2169 people will have perfect health and appearance. Every member of the human race will have a digital clock installed on his or her forearm by a bioengineer (once called biohackers). When people turn 25 they stop ageing and their clock begins counting down from one year. When the clock reaches zero, that person “times out” and dies instantly. The poor work in factories to gain more time credits, envying the rich who can live for centuries in closed off communities, slowly buying whatever their hearts desire. Time has become the universal currency.

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Forward to Nature

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Virtual worlds, printed food, living cities, wild robots – we’re so surrounded by technology that it’s becoming our next nature. How can we live in harmony with it? The Next Nature Network is a 21st century nature organization that wants to go forward – not back – to nature. We stir debate, create events, exhibitions, publications and products that bring biology and technology into balance. Because ultimately, we may not just have to save the pandas but the people too. Will you join us?

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Next Nature

Interview: Mike Thompson and Susana Cámara Leret, Designers Exploring Alternative Ways of Thinking & Doing

Their work is rooted in design, has a flavor of art and a profound touch of science. It’s a blend of different types of knowledge that brings forth new knowledge. Central to their approach is an open-ended and all-inclusive mindset. Western science is as legitimate as indigenous traditions. In their opinion all knowledge is complementary. Their work ranges from the absurd to the scientific, from the experimental to the groundbreaking. Mike Thompson and Susana Cámara Leret are the minds behind Thought Collider, an experimental, critical art-design research practice based in Amsterdam.

Often their materials of choice are both everyday and completely out of the ordinary. In their project Aqua Vita they used urine as a source of information. With Fatberg, an on-going collaboration between Mike and Arne Hendriks, they are building an island of fat, which should one day roam the oceans. And their latest project: The Institute for the Design of Tropical Disease attempts to create a space where other types of discussion related to tropical disease can take place – discussions that are more imaginative than dogmatic.

We recently talked with them about their practice, their latest project and their views on society and our senses.

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Facebook suicide prevention tool
Society of Simulations

Facebook Provides a Suicide Prevention Tool

Let’s say an old schoolmate, whom you haven’t spoken to in ages but is your friend on Facebook, posts a status update that sounds like a suicide note. What to do? Message the friend? Then what to say? Facebook is setting up a tool that advises what to do and directly seeks contact with the person who might be on the brinck of committing suicide. Is a social network morally obliged to have such a feature or is it trespassing privacy borders? This is a sensitive topic.

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Seeing any way but the Milky Way
Manufactured Landscapes

What Is Next Nature? #8

Light pollution is changing our perception of the environment. People spending most of their lives in urban areas will rarely, if ever, see the Milky Way. The name itself is derived from its appearance as a glowing band of light arching across the night sky; a visual display unequaled in grandness and beauty. Until the 1920’s, when the electricity grid became more common, it was visible almost everyday, depending on the weather conditions. However, today more city dwellers have seen the Andromeda Galaxy as the wallpaper of their MacBook than they have seen the Milky Way by looking at the sky.

Read the entire Next Nature is… series.

Plastic Planet

Getting Rid of Plastic in the Oceans

The level of plastic in the oceans lately became an urgent topic. Getting rid of it is the aim of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a dutch company founded by 21-year-old inventor Boyan Slat four years ago, when he was 17. He created a prototype of an advanced clean-up system which will be installed in the North Sea approximately 12 nautical miles off the Dutch coast, where it will remain for a full year for a performance tests. This prototype is the first ocean cleanup system even tested at sea.

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