Tag: The-map-is-the-territory

church forest dots

In Ethiopia, the Bible Grows a Forest

What are those two green dots in the dusty landscape?  Ethiopian Orthodox Christians believe in preserving forests around their churches as living symbols of Eden.  Since 95% of the country’s historical forests have been stripped for farmland and fuel, these ‘church forests’ are the last refuge for native plants, birds and insects.  The church grounds frequently contain springs that serve as clean sources of drinking water for the surrounding community.

Yet even Eden needs a fence.  Religious belief might have kept the trees, but locals are slowly chipping away at the margins of the forest to expand farming plots and to gather firewood.  Clergy members use the trees to repair the church buildings, and sell forest plants for food and dye.  Tropical ecologist Margaret Lowman is raising funds for a simple solution: building fences around the forest to keep livestock out, and to clearly demarcate the boundary between sacred and cultivated land.


Turn a Shoebox Apartment into 24 Rooms

What to do when you live in Hong Kong, a city where every square meter counts? You just have to get creative. Empty rooms are a waste of space anyway.

Google landscape

Microbic Landscapes

Beautiful Google Maps shots of housing projects in southwest Florida. Probably designed to look and feel more natural than your average straight street neighborhood, they remind me of microbes under a microscope.
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Next Landscapes

Quoted in a recent interview about his work, Landscapes without Memory, artist Joan Fontcuberta asked, “Could a natural nature exist? The answer is no, or at least, not anymore: man’s presence makes nature artificial.”

Often concerned with the ambiguity of truth, reality and virtuality Fontcuberta’s latest exhibition at photogallery Foam in Amsterdam consists of an expansive series of dramatic 3D landscapes. On first glance the images resemble something like eerie, almost empty Lord of the Rings stills. These aren’t photos but rather images produced by Fontcuberta using software developed for the U.S Air Force.

Originally cartographical data was fed into the programme to produce 3D landscape images, Fontcuberta however, fed the programme visual data – images from great masters like Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Turner – producing entirely unique 3D landscapes. (The image above was originally a Pollock). “The representation of nature no longer depends on the direct experience of reality, but on the interpretation of previous images, on representations that already exist. Reality does not precede our experience, but instead it results from intellectual construction.”

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The world according to data

A map of the world, drawn in two layers: the red for population density (over 2 persons per square mile) and the black overlay for connections between Facebook friends. Made by Thorsten Gätz, bigger version can be found here. Via Martin.


Google Earth Alphabet

Language is communication technology. As Marshall McLuhan said, the spoken word was ‘the first technology by which man was able to let go of his environment in order to grasp it in a new way’.

Language not only describes, but also contributes to the social construct we call ‘reality’ and does so without any wires or silicon involved. When our physical environment takes up the shape of written language, it becomes something of a text to be read, as if our environment starts talking back to us.

Computers and software use the same graphic symbols – in the sense of programming language – as humans do, although in a somewhat different configuration, for communication. Most – if not all – contributors to nextnature.net, are advocates and critics of visual culture. But paradoxically, the tools that produce this visual culture, wouldn’t exist without written language. One tool that made an impact on how our worldview is constructed is Google Earth. It literally brings a new perspective to our world, and from this new perspective our world can be explored in a different way.

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Europe airspace reboot

After a ban on flying last weeks due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the European airspace was slowly rebooting to its old state of activity. This movie shows the movement of planes over time and shows how the activity grows.

Via Infosthetics

Sentient Spaces

Miniature Sensor Network for the Office

“Have you seen my stapler? No, but just look it up on Google home office maps.”

CSIRO Researchers have developed miniature sensors that track lab equipment, coffee mugs and staplers in the office.

The sensors are called Fleck Nano and were build on CSIRO’s existing Fleck technology that is being commercially produced for monitoring cows on farms.

Fleck sensors collect data like location and temperature. They form an ad-hoc mesh network, and communicate with static nodes and each other via radio waves.

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