Manufactured nature that’s better than the real thing

Much of the so-called ‘nature’ in our lives has taken on an artificial authenticity. Engineered tomatoes are redder, rounder, and larger than the ones from our gardens. We have made fluorescent fish, featherless birds, and botanical gardens that contain species from every corner of the globe. Human design has made nature hypernatural. Hypernature is an exaggerated simulation of a nature that never existed. It’s better than the real thing: a little bit prettier, slicker and safer than the old kind. Hypernature is culture in disguise.

Essay by McKenzie Wark

N is for Nature

There are people who think what makes a good wine comes from nature – factors like rain and soil and temperature. Then there are those who think it’s a matter of second nature – of picking and fermenting and ageing. But these days, there’s a whole new world of wine making technology – and a whole new argument as to what is “natural” and what is not.…

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'It is only when second nature develops that nature appears as a concept. Once the techniques are in place for making nature into a resource, for trapping or taming it, an appreciation arises for nature in its raw state'

McKenzie Wark

Pimp My Planet

After the worldwide acceptance of plastic surgery, it was time to subject our worldly possessions and digital identities to an aesthetic and/or functional upgrade. Everything can be pimped. Even our own planet.

Acoustic Botany

With his speculative ‘acoustic garden’ David Benqué tries to explore our cultural and aesthetic relationship to nature. He states that the current debate around Genetic Engineering is centred around subjects like food and healthcare but that the altering of nature is no new development.…

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Branded Butterfly Wings

“A glowing green logo drawn by scientists on the wing of a genetically altered butterfly could herald the day that the insects are adorned with adverts and slogans. A team at the University at Buffalo that developed the world’s first genetically modified butterfly has now adapted the work to create the fluorescent marking on the wings of the insect to demonstrate an innovative tool that will make it easier to find out what genes do, in this case those that play a role in making the patterns on wings, from stripes to eye spots.”

After reading this at Telegraph, I imagined something like the sporty butterfly picture above: Papilio Nike-Ulysses.…

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Genetically Modified Salmon moves to Kitchen Table

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to approve the first genetically engineered animal that people would eat — salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate.

The salmon was developed by a company called AquaBounty Technologies.…

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