Tag: Suburban Utopia

Boomeranged Metaphors

Nature Deficit Disorder

Will this one day be public disease number one? For now, it’s our peculiar image of the week. Thanks Frits.

Food Technology

Inside the Fastfood “Photokitchen”

Why does your food look different in advertising than it does in the store? A Canadian McDonald’s marketing manager tries to answer this common question with a behind-the-scenes videos, providing insight into the fastfood behemoth’s “photo-kitchen”.


Portal to the Internets

Is this progressively nostalgic telephone booth the smallest internet café in Asia,  an exit from the Matrix, or did Dr. Who just get his car pimped? You say!

Peculiar picture taken by Arnoud Traa in Shanghai

Playing Food
Suburban Utopia

Playing with Your Food (Industry)

Back in the old days, we played with a Playmobil®  farm. With a farmhouse, two pigs and a chicken, and it was a fair reflection of how the food industry worked. Nowadays small farms are overgrown by factory farming, fattening cattle at breakneck-speed in order to get them ready for slaugther as quickly as possible. Children do not comprehend this. They still believe in the nostalgic image of small peaceful farms, which their toys match – until now!

Tomm Velthuis has made a wooden play set, called “Playing Food”, that represents the real food industry. Now, children can breed and fatten around 200 pigs by supplying the required amount of food. The pigs will end up waiting for their time of slaughter in pig sheds that can contain eleven pigs. The set includes felled rainforrest trees and acid rain clouds, as a consequence of the unsustainable meat industry.

Food Technology

Herons Eat at the Local Snack Bar

As a result of urbanization there is less and less green nature. Animals get a smaller habitat to live and collect food. But the stony man-made towns become a ecosystem in itself. Some animals are able to change their way of living. For example the heron.

In Amsterdam the birds live together with the inhabitants of the city. The herons live in colonies in the top of the trees. In Amsterdam now they live together in the city park. Originally herons are migratory birds, in the winter they leave to warmer habitats. But in the city there is enough food to survive the winter. Besides the fish from the ditches, now the herons have also the goldfish from the neighbor on the menu.

Some herons are even too lazy to find their own food and try to collect it from the local snack bar. Their only problem left are the Sundays and public holidays to which they are not adjusted yet.

Via SchoffiesFilm. Image Roeland Koning.

Manufactured Animals

Nano Product: Glo-Doo

Dog feces are an unsightly blemish on city streets. With Glo-Doo, dog food laced with bioluminescent bacteria transforms each pile into an appealing way to light up the night. As the busy microbes get to work, they break down the poop and emit a blue glow in the process. Left long enough, Glo-Doo will decompose your dog’s doo into harmless, stink-free soil.

From the NANO Supermarket product collection. Designer: Sanne Kat. Enabling technology: Genetic engineering. Feasibility: Low.


Close Personal Friend

Here’s one for the retro-trendwatchers. This 24-minute self-directed film was made in 1996 by artist-writer Douglas Coupland as a portrait of postmodern culture. Soon after it was abandoned and forgotten, yet if you watch it now it is striking how the film anticipates contemporary phenomena like social media and self-branding. You may want to spend 24-minutes on this Close Personal Friend.

Food Technology

Eating In-Vitro: Kitchen Meat Incubator

The Kitchen Meat Incubator does for home cooking what the electronic synthesizer did for the home musician. It provides its users with a set of pre-programmed samples that can be remixed and combined to their liking. Besides the preparation of traditional styles like steak, sausage or meatballs, consumers can bring their own imagination to the meat preparation process. The handy sliders on the device control size, shape and texture. More expensive models of the Kitchen Meat Incubator also come with a wireless link that allows you to download meat recipes from the internet or share them with friends.

Designed by Daniel Ong for the Eating in Vitro series.

Do you want to know more about the future of meat? We are writing a speculative cookbook of in-vitro meat dishes, join us on www.bistro-invitro.com.

lowline underground park nyc
Suburban Utopia

LowLine Puts Park Beneath New York

Deep below bustling, noisy Delancy Street in Manhattan lies the Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, a building abandoned in 1948. This terminal is just one of many tunnels and stations that riddle New York, unused except by rats and albino alligators. Now, designers Dan Barasch and James Ramsey want to do for the city’s subterranean spaces what the High Line and the Brooklyn Garage did for its aerial ones: Turn them into vibrant, immaculately designed parks.

Despite the abundance of empty urban caves, Barasch and Ramsey encountered one major hurdle to making the darkness bloom: Plants can’t grow without light. The team has come up with high-tech solution to bring light underground, involving tunnels, GPS, and a parabolic system of lenses and mirrors based on the one used in the James Webb Space Telescope.

In the exhibition “Imagining the Lowline” visitors recently got their first taste of a forest floor beneath the pavement, complete with moss, ferns, and a Japanese maple. Whether Barasch and Ramsey can realize their vision of converting the trolley terminal into the world’s first underground green space depends on city bureaucracy and, of course, money. Fans can contribue cash at their website. For all us vampires, night-owls, and Poe-reading goths, let’s hope Manhattan soon gets its next great public space, far beneath the madding crowds.

Via the New Yorker and Fast Company.

suburban lion cub

Lions Relocate to the Suburbs

Foxes, coyotes, bobcats, jackals, and dozens of other generalist predators have successfully adapted to suburbia, following their prey to where the grass is green and the landscaping is tasty. At their worst, these mid-sized species will knock over a few garbage cans and make a meal of Fluffy. In Kenya, however, suburban homeowners are now facing lions, animals that exclusively specialize in killing large prey. Too bad humans fit the definition of “large”.

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