Tag: Hyperreality

Hypernature

Featured Page #01: Hypernature

During the coming weeks, we will present a selection of our favourite pages from the Next Nature book. To kick the series off, we’ll start with a spread about hypernature; the enhanced version of nature.

Much of the so-called ‘nature’ in our lives has taken on an artificial authenticity. Engineered tomatoes are redder, rounder, and larger than the ones from our gardens. Domestic pets could not survive in the wild, but prosper by triggering our empathy. We have made fluorescent fish, rainbow tulips and botanical gardens that contain species from every corner of the globe.

Human design has turned nature into hypernature, an exaggerated simulation of a nature that never existed. It’s better than the original, a little bit prettier and slicker, safer and more convenient. Hypernature emerges where the born and the made meet. It presents itself as nature, yet arguably, it is culture in disguise.

Note from the editor: This spread is a perfect example of the relation between this website and our Next Nature book. Over the years, we have posted several stories about hypernature, but we never really pinned the term down. The editing process of the book allowed us to study it much better and come to a better understanding of what it is, and how it should be described. Which in return resulted in the thematic sections you can find on this website, like this one about hypernature.

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Featured here are pages 124-125 from the book Next Nature: Nature Changes Along with Us. More information about the book can be found here.

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Humane-Technology

Nanotech Bracelet Detects Allergies

Designed by Luc de Smet, Awear is a speculative bracelet that can detect and record the sources of allergies for children in uncontrolled environments, such as schools and playgrounds. While the child wears the bracelet, parents or teachers can check the results on a computer or smartphone. It can be removed at any time when it is deemed no longer necessary or in the way.

Awear works by using an array of nanosize Raman spectroscopes that can scan any surface where light pierces. These miniature spectroscopes would look inside the wearer’s skin to see if an allergic reaction is occurring, and then analyze the surrounding air to detect what allergens are in range. GPS or another similar technology would record the location. The bracelet could be linked with others to share information, and could be modified to give warnings when certain known allergens are in range.

Want to design your own speculative nanotech? Check out the Call for Products in the second edition of the NANO Supermarket. 

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Augmented-Bodies

Incredibly Shrinking Humanity

Arne Hendricks will be presenting The Incredible Shrinking Man at the Next Nature Power Show on November 5th.

Social erosion, fisheries depletion, deforestation- for the 7 billion people on earth, we’re not just approaching an era of resource scarcity, we’re already there. Except for the lucky few, food, shelter, and even water can be expensive and in short supply. We have tried to address global problems with bigger technologies and bigger laws, but what if we decided to go small? Really small. How would the world change if every human was only 50 centimeters tall?

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Fake-for-Real

A Rare Giant Crane in Manhattan

In this Petcha Kutcha presentation, Mike Dickison comes to a very funny conclusion: Although Big Bird might superficially resemble other ratites like the ostrich or emu, he is likely more closely related to a group of extinct, flightless cranes that once lived in Cuba and Bermuda. Birds tend to evolve towards flightlessness and gigantism when isolated on islands and, fittingly, Big Bird lives on the most famous island in the world.

Watch: What if Anything is Bird Big

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Calm-technology

Theriomorphous Cyborg

The Animal Architecture Awards have just announced the winners of their 2011 contest. Taking first place is Simone Ferracina’s Theriomorphous Cyborg, a (speculative) augmented reality game inspired by Jacob von Uexküll’s notion of the animal umwelt. Not truly architectural, Theriomorphous Cyborg instead shifts how a human participant relates to space and the landscape. Each level in the free-form game takes the player through different modes that relate to the sensory capacities of various animals. Ferracina writes:

“Inspired by migratory birds and their ability to perceive the Earth’s magnetism, LEVEL 1 superimposes the participant’s field of vision with an additional signal consisting of directional color patterns. The gamer learns to navigate space according to his/her own magnetic compass.”

Once the participant has mastered one form of perception, she advances to more outlandish experiments with vision and navigation. Level 3 essentially blinds the player, and replaces his vision with the feed from a series of hacked CCTV cameras. Level 6 covers up billboards with images of bee-friendly flowers. A mouthpiece morphs the user’s words into animal noises, robbing her of the ability to communicate with language. By imagining an animalistic version of future devices, Theriomorphous Cyborg presents a trippy, compelling alternative to the assumption that all technology must be anthropocentric.

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Hyperreality

The Woods Smell of Shampoo

Named after the story of a city girl that washes her hair with pine-needle shampoo and one day walks in the woods with her daddy says “Daddy! The Woods Smell of Shampoo”, this Dutch VPRO documentary investigates how media became the filters through which we experience the world around us.

Media experiences are often more satisfying than real experiences. Do we still have real experiences or are all our feelings and thoughts shaped by media technologies? And if that’s the case, how bad is this anyhow?

Ten years ago, when The Woods Smell of Shampoo was broadcasted on Dutch television, much of its statements were considered preposterous. Over time the film has gained a certain luster – if only for being Next Nature avant la lettre.

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Calm-technology

Visualizing Wifi Landscapes

This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

More info on: nearfield.org – via the #CoCities conference

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Digital-Presence

Pregnant Avatars

This interview from 2008 is exemplary for a time when people started experimenting on humanizing anonymous avatars in the virtual realm. Shopping, building, going on holiday, dancing, drinking and getting wasted, playing games, farm, prostitute, doing business and yes: becoming pregnant are some of the ways people expressed themselves. I am not sure if SecondLife is still being lived, but if it is, it makes one curious to know what has become of the virtual babies. Are they still babies or did they grow over time? Were they being neglected at some point? Socially parked? If so, then let this blogpost be a monument for all parents and their virtual darlings.

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