Could the biggest, most successful discount store in the world really meet your every need? Twenty-four hours a day? That’s what the TV spots are saying. Really living there. Eating, sleeping, checking out the DVDs, never leaving.
Skyler Bartels walked into the big box wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. He had his cell phone in case of emergency, his heart medicine, his bank card, two forms of identification, and nothing else. He spent the first afternoon watching “Chicken Little,” the animated Disney film. He watched it all. Deleted scenes, interviews, outtakes. Everything.
“They had it on a continuous loop the whole time I was there,” he said. “I’d pass through the department and say, ‘Oh, it’s about halfway through’ or, ‘I like this part. I think I’ll watch it again.’ “
He decided not to buy anything he couldn’t carry around the store. He ended up with a jacket (for storage space), a note pad, some pencils, an electronic voice recorder, a three-pack of underwear, a comb, a toothbrush and some toothpaste. He lived off energy drinks, doughnuts, yogurt and Subway sandwiches. He figures he slept four hours out of the 41 in captivity. He’d catch a few minutes whenever he could – in a Subway booth or a restroom stall.
The best place for dozing was lawn and garden, where the lights weren’t so bright. Nobody worked there between 2 and 4 a.m. Bartels found a lawn chair, kicked back and wondered how life could be better.
By Tuesday morning, not even halfway through the great experiment, the store was on to him. His debit account was frozen. He was exhausted and paranoid. Game over. His med-student brother picked him up and took him away.
“We weren’t aware of this,” said corporate spokeswoman Sharon Weber, “but it’s not something we condone. We’re a retailer, not a hotel.”
Like real life, you can’t get everything at Wal-Mart (new slogan: Not a Hotel). Bartels couldn’t get a shower or a bed. He couldn’t find one of those miniature bottles of shampoo.
Epic is a fictional prospect (from 2004) on the future culture of media and internet-corporations. The human addiction to news and information must – according to this video – accumulate to one great scattered source with over too many editors. But is it the product we wanted? by Robin Sloan
Every ecology needs balance. So that’s also true for the ecology of the office. The office is a ecology that is highly regulated: temperature, light, humidity, distance to other living creatures and others are thought of and are standardized, often worldwide as more and more companies operate around the world.
So— what they need is a bug in the system:
We harness interruptive technology to expose the secret possibilities of the workday. As a time-stealing agency, the Bureau of Workplace Interruptions works directly with employees to invisibly insert intimate exchange into the flow of the workday. Our promise is to create interruptions that challenge the needs of our users and the social and economic conditions of the modern workplace.
You know how receiving flowers at work can put a buzz on the rest of the day? So do we. That’s why we create surprise, the kind that slices through the banal and opens up new places for your mind to wander. The ruptures we create are temporary spaces for open dialogue, invisible resistance, and general amusement. In short, we hope to invigorate some of the time you spend at work in order to create new experiences and possibilities outside the flow of capital.
How does this work?
When you submit a request for interruption, our agents go to work finding the right interruption for you. We consider your occupation, work hours, and the means by which we can contact you. Once a feasible interruption has been decided on, we work to slip it into your day via mail, email, telephone, or a workplace visit. We strive throughout this process to keep our actions invisible to your employer.
Dig this: A group of students have developed photographic film composed of bacteria. They took E. coli and genetically modified it by adding a protein from blue-green algae that detects light. They also linked it to the E. coli’s digestion: In the dark, the bacteria digest sugar and produce a black pigment, but in the light they don’t. Then they coated a petri dish evenly with this modified stuff.
The result? An organic way of taking pictures. The students put the petri dish inside a pinhole camera, expose the dish to light, and presto: The bacteria produce replicas of the scene in dark patches of pigment. As Aaron Chevalier, one of the students, told the University of Texas’ web site:
At first, we made blobby images and you had to imagine what they were.
But over the course of the year, he and the other students refined the camera. Although it’s still made with old bookends, discarded microscope parts and a used incubator, the newest camera is much more
compact and takes crisper pictures. I love the look of the photos: They’re like ghostly old daguerreotypes somebody found in their dead greataunt’s attic. It’s a great way to show the promise of synthetic biology – mucking with genetic material to produce new and weirdly useful forms of life.
The first essay ever written on Next Nature, published in Next Nature Pocket and in Entry Paradise, New Design Worlds. (download pdf) (German version: Erkundungen im Nächste Natur).
In this article, we explore and redefine our notion of nature. We will argue that our current common view on ‘nature’ needs reconsideration. The notions of nature and culture seem to be trading places. Nature, in the sense of trees, plants, animals, atoms, or climate, is getting increasingly controlled and governed by man. It has turned into a cultural category. At the same time, products of culture, which we used to be in control of man, tend to outgrow us and become autonomous. The ‘natural powers’ seem to shift to another field. Nature changes along with us. We propose the term ‘next nature’ for this culturally emerged nature. Next nature is real nature, no representation, or a simulation of some long-lost phenomenon.