Artist Andrew Chase creates kinetic sculptures of animals. He has studied these animals intensively. After his analysis he created copies of these animals in metal with mechanics to mimic the movements of these animals. You can see the cheetah in action. He also created an elephant and giraffe out of mechanical metal parts. A fascinating way of copying old nature – suit for yourself if there is some deeper meaning – in waste metals.
Parks becomes fairground attractions? Maybe they have been all the time. This intriguing park design by architecture-firm-beyond-praise Diller Scofidio + Renfro seems (who we all know from their great Blur Pavillion) to make a point, but what exactly? The designers themselves describe their project as following:
Sometimes new technology has to bio-mimic old nature to be accepted. In the late 1960s and early 70s, Uniroyal Engineered Products invented the ‘nauga’ a beast that gives its name to naugahyde. The nauga is fictional; it breathes as much as polyvinyl fabric does. Since the new, cheap material could be perceived as off-putting and artificial, the critter was presented as friendly and cuddly. The species is a vegan dream, willingly shedding their hides several times a year. The last of the naugas live free-range on a ranch in Wisconsin. Though the nauga isn’t real, we can still rest assured that chocolate milk comes from chocolate cows.
Artist Dolf Veenvliet (Macouno) is creating future fossil trilobites that have yet to exist. Using generative computer models, his Entoforms are not the result of millions of years of evolving biological DNA. Instead, the system uses plain text as an input for generating the creatures, creating a wide variety that rivals the diversity we see in Old Nature’s fossile records.
In the video below, Dolf talks about his project and invites us to join him in exploring this new world of creatures that are born through modern 3D printing manufacturing technologies.
While hiking in Trinidad, artist Nina Katchadourian was struck by the similarity of bird calls to car alarms. One inspires us to poetry, the other makes us groan and pull the pillow over our ears at night, but they’re both forms of auditory pollution.
Back in New York, Katchadourian fitted a ‘flock’ of three cars with recorded bird calls to mimic to the six-tone siren that echoes constantly through the city. Far from sounding like a bucolic forest, a ‘natural’ car alarm is just as rattling and irritating as the real thing. Not only is real nature not green, it’s downright annoying.
Has this tree gone Pac-Man on the power lines? In truth, the slice through the side of the tree is the work of ‘utility pruning.’ Topiary was once determined on entirely aesthetic lines, be it geometric shapes in formal gardens or more whimsical forms of animals or people. Now, the inadvertent topiaries of electricity are a common sight: the oak split down the middle, the pine with its top lopped off, the elm with an entire side of branches shaved away. It represents a curious compromise. Rather than being cut down, the tree is permitted to coexist with the utility cables. Along with insects, lightning strikes, and wind, power lines are now an important factor in how the landscape grows.
Image via The Small Wave 2
Recent flooding along the Mississippi River has broken records first set 70 years ago. As always, it’s hard to attribute local weather to global patterns, but the heavier rainfall in the region is consistent with scientists’ predictions for global warming. While climate change may already be wiping out whole island nations in the South Pacific, it’s also indirectly responsible for a strange type of manmade atoll: the negative island. To greater or lesser success, some forward-thinking homeowners have constructed DIY levees to protect their houses from the overflowing Mississippi.
These tiny pieces of dry land are actually lower than the surrounding waters, going against the natural topographical order of higher-is-drier. Such single-serving levees can be seen as a sign of human hubris, the consequence of modernism’s belief that natural systems can be made rational, predictable, and safe. From another perspective, the anti-islands can be seen as a temporary river archipelago, an emerging next natural phenomenon. It’s a strange subversion of the modus operandi of suburban life: Don’t forget to stock the backyard feeder for the migrating fish, and remember to invite the neighborhood kids over for a stroll in the below-ground walking pool.
Images via Popsci.
As the name suggests, Birthmarks Tattoos, are fake – but permanent – birthmarks that you can add to your body. Aside from its decorative potential, Birthmarks Tattoo makes it possible for you and your partner to “exchange” birthmarks or to imprint your body with a secret message in braille. Birthmarks Tattoo is a concept by Dutch designers Julia Müller, Arjan Groot and Menno Wittebrood who were commissioned by the magazine Identity Matters to come up with an idea for new ways of tattooing.