You are what you eat, taken seriously. Shrink is a work by the artist Lawrence Malstaf. Visitors place themselves between two large, transparent plastic sheets. The air gets sucked out between them to leave the body vacuum-packed and vertically suspended. The transparent tube inserted between the two surfaces allows the person inside the installation to regulate the flow of air.
It’s no secret that Mickey Mouse has evolved in response to consumer pressures. Once a violent river-rat, he became the boy scout of rodents with good looks to match. Steven Jay Gould famously charted Mickey’s pedomorphosis over the years. The mouse reverted to a baby’s bigger skull, bigger eyes, and pudgier snout.
As a child of the 80s and 90s, I’ve noticed the same trend in the toy brands that once littered the floor of my suburban bedroom. Boys toys may be constrained to adult (and therefore masculine) characteristics, but girls’ toys are free to fall under the consumer pressures of the Mickey Effect.
The My Little Pony (MLP) reboot exhibits a classic retention of juvenile characteristics into adulthood, a process known as neoteny. The eyes are bigger, the face is rounder and flatter, and the body size and leg length are reduced. Compared to the more conventional equine outline of the original series, the new MLP appears based on an infant, even fetal stage of development.
A shot of a male body after a sex change by dutch artist and photographer Martin C. de Waal. De Waal tries to make people rethink their opinions by pushing the boundaries of self-alteration. With a fascination for plastic surgery and a strong drive to reinvent himself he underwent an eight and a half hour surgery to alter his face a few years ago. – mcdewaal.com
Mushroom based plastics? Designer Eben Bayer must have eaten too much of the wondrous chanterelles perhaps? No seriously, the man is turning his vision into a reality with an utterly–innovative–fungus–grown–plastics–packaging–material.
Welcome in the 21th century folks! Yet we couldn’t help noticing that Eben in his TED talk presents a very traditional, static idea of nature. Amazing that a guy who grows plastics from mushrooms gives a talk so deprived of next nature thinking (rather than seeing nature as static, we should perceive it as a dynamic force that changes along with us).
Hence, we can’t help but wonder what Eben thinks of the bugs that eat plastic – rest a sure, we applaud him nonetheless for his innovative mushroom material.
Frequent readers of this website might be familiar with our claim that Next Nature emerges from a fusion between the Born and the Made. But now we can add another: the fusion of the Sewn and the Grown. Cheesy wordplay or not, fact is that this Spray-on Fabric changes your perception of what clothing is or should be. It becomes more grown, and less made.
The product – an instant, sprayable, non-woven fabric – was created some years ago by Fabrican and developed through a collaboration between Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, London (UK). After spraying the liquid, the fabric kind of grows itself. A model that tested the fabric on her skin reportedly said it ‘felt like a second skin’.
You can probably imagine the implications of this product, except it’s aesthetic appeal to hip designers all over the world: from First Aid Clothing Spray for emergency situations like floods and earthquakes to Sex toys to Auto-dressing Cabins for the elderly and the disabled. Clothing will be something you buy from a supermarket shelf and when you travel, you only need to breng some extra cans. But most importantly: you will never have to wash your clothes again – the ultimate disposable material in a throwaway society? Well, the self-sprayed clothing can be recycled by tearing it to pieces and mix it with a substance that makes the fabric liquid again.
Spiderman, eat your heart out.
Movieclip about the Spray-on T-Shirt
Justin Shull investigates the born and the made by mixing them up in mobile installations like the “Terrestrial Shrub Rover” and the “Porta Hedge”. His designs consist of several eco-conscious design features including recycled Christmas trees on the exterior, wood finishing on the interior, and the relaxing sound of birdsong audio on the interior and exterior. These vehicles are made to observe and explore both terrestrial and social environments.
What to do when you have a small city with limited space, and you rather turn available space into parking lots instead of parks? You turn to DUS Architects for an unlimited forrest. The Unlimited Urban Woods lets you disappear into an endless forrest that just takes a few square meters.
By placing a real tree into a cubic space of mirrors, the tree gets repeated endlessly, creating the feeling of a forrest. Personally, I would be interested in an endless parking space in the forrest too.
Images by Pieter Kers.
The idea of altering your body for aesthetic purposes is still somewhat frowned upon today. But more than because the very idea of improving yourself, this is about its irreversible nature.
When a women has some silicons inserted in her mammary glands, she’s very unlikely to go to back to a petite 75B one month later, but that very same woman can simply throw her high heels in the corner and wipe of the lipstick after an important vernissage. Compared to plastic surgery, clothing and make-up are much more accepted ways of presenting yourself to the opposite sex as that hyper-attractive step up the evolutionary ladder.