Tag: Officegarden

Hungry Birds
Digital-Presence

Hungry Birds

A while ago I wrote a post about birds which tried to adapt to the city by singing louder and in different tones than before.

Now it seems the birds have taken this adaptation to the next level and started tweeting, in the digital variant. While they already lend their image and name to this popular service, they could never use it until the people of the Latvian weekly magazine “Ir” made Birds on Twitter.

A keyboard made of fat allows the birds to tweet while they eat. Check out the poetry of the birds @hungry_birds.
Unfortunately we will have to wait until November before they start tweeting again, as spring is setting in, which means there is much more to do than tweeting all day long.

bears dumpster diving
Back to the Tribe

A Savannah Inside the Dumpster

For most of us, obtaining food is easy.  We go to the grocery store, where fruits are labeled and meats arranged by species.  We go to a restaurant, sit, and wait for our food to be delivered to us.  The disparities between the modern, industrialized food system and the savannah ecosystem of our ancestors is stunning – and responsible, of course, for ‘new’ diseases like obesity and diabetes.  Yet modern agricultural technology is also responsible for the rise of a new tribe of hunter-gathers: Dumpster divers.

‘Freegans’ operate according to notions of seasonality and safety for food that have long since become non-issues for most of the developed world.  Like foraging groups, their food is temporally bound. Fruiting trees and moving herds are replaced with bakeries’ closing times and the days when the corner store dumps its lettuce.

Shopping at the store is low-stress, but for dumpster divers, gathering dinner can be fraught with peril.  There might not be lions lurking around the garbage bins, but urban foragers must learn to avoid angry store owners and suspicious cops.   Real peril lies not just in spoiled food, but in injuries from actually scrambling into the dumpster.  No one wants a puncture wound with their lunch.

Dumpster diving re-privileges ancient senses.  Because the grocery store is a sterile zone, the eye has become the primary organ of selection.  The eye perceives brands. It picks our the most vibrantly red tomato.  For dumpster divers, the nose and fingers are once again put into service as vital organs of the food gathering experience, sniffing to see which meats are past date, prodding apples to find the rotten ones.

The industrialized food system divorces us from nature, but for modern foragers, it brings them closer to the tribe.

 

maple_of_ratibor_530
Biomimicry

Tree Temple

So we may think ‘guided growth‘ is a typically 21th century design methodology, yet apparently it was also in vogue in the 19th century.

According the original description in the Picture magazine 1893, this century old Maple tree “has been turned into a kind of temple of two stories, each of its compartments being lighted by eight windows, and capable of containing twenty people wit ease. The floors are constructed of boughs skillfully woven together, of which the leaves make a sort of natural carpet. The walls are formed of thick leafage, in which innumerable birds build their nests”

We are unsure if this tree ever existed or that is a 19th century design fiction.

Biomimicry

Augmented Ecologies

It might take a while before this goes mainstream, if ever, but there is a certain luster in being a plant VJ.

Augmented Ecologies is an installation by Guido Maciocci, who rigged up plants with sensors to create a kinesthetic user experience with movement, touch, sound and light. When the user touches the plants or pressure sensitive moss they create different types of musical notes.

alex_gross_14
Hyperreality

Alex Gross

Indulge in the paintings by Alex Gross. There is ‘something’ next nature about them… If happen to have more information on what that ‘something’ is, feel free to enlighten us in the comment box. Peculiar image of the week.

Via Pinktentacle.

hairy-switch_530
Anthropomorphobia

Disgusting Switches

If a light switch would be hairy or snotty nobody would want to turn on the light anymore, which is exactly why designer Katrin Baumgarten created some of the most one nauseating switches she could imagine.

One of the switches sprays snot at the one who dares to push it, while another one simply retreats when the finger comes near. A third one has tiny moving hairs to refrain you from switching. The message? Be mindful about your energy use. You really have to need the light before you dare switching one of Baumgartens disgusting creations.

Read more

biomodd
Biomimicry

Biomodd at work

Modding is the act of adapting hardware/software to have it do what you want it to do, which does not always correlate with what it is originally built to do. Biomodd(ding) is inserting a living ecosystem inside a computer system, varying from plants that grow and develop with the use of the waste heat of the computer to algae that function to cool a processor; “living cooling liquid”. In an almost symbiosis-like state nature and machine living together. Even though it, of what I’ve seen so far, ends up being quite interesting sculpture-like installations, the main importance is that they’re meant to be actually used.

In one set-up in the Phillipines they developed a multi-player game and used this structure as the server. Which resulted in: “social meeting getting translated through a sequence of events into biological growth and development.” And this is where the different levels appear; Biomodd is about the game-element, it is about the social aspect and it is about the biological aspect. And it is really cool to look at, have a look for yourself:

via: Kritische Massa: kunstkritiek en digitale kunst (Critical Mass: art-criticism and digital art), organized by Virtueel Platform.

being_there_530
Humane-Technology

Next Nature Movie #2: Being There

The main character in ‘Being There’ (1979) is a simple-minded gardener named Chance, played brilliantly by Peter Sellars, who has spent all his life as a servant in the Washington D.C. house of an old man. When the old man dies, Chance is put out on the streets of Washington with no knowledge of the world except what he has learned from television and the small garden he maintained for his employer.

As he is forced to leave his tiny habitat behind and enter the utterly estranging urban surroundings – like an alien from outer space – he seems doomed at first. Luckily it turns out his elementary gardening expertise and television knowledge provides him with enough baggage to cope with the complexity of modern life.

Although Chaunce has the mind of a small child and only knows of gardening, he dresses in nice suits, has impeccable manners and is not shy, so he is accepted into social circles. Through an accidental encounter with a rich couple that is close to the president, he becomes acquainted with the higher circles in Washington. When he speaks of gardening, his words are mistaken for metaphors and he is instantly considered an economic genius.

‘Being There’ is a wonderful film. It profoundly deals with a simple premise: despite the sheer complexity of our living environment and the harsh speed with which it changes, staying true to ones own values and intuitions remains a good strategy.

P.s. The phrase “I like to watch” has become so famous from this movie – it refers to Chances love for TV and the fact that it is the primary reference point for his existence – up to the level that he tries to click a remote to thwart off muggers.

Passed: Playtime (1967)