Welcome to the suburban utopia, where everyone owns a home, a car and an iSomething. All of your needs have been met, and every detail has been planned. But is something missing? Or are you not good enough for the perfect world? The image of the suburban utopia may be cracking under the pressure of perfection. Even here there are risks and unexpected phenomena. Nature, and human nature, has a way of disrupting even the most squeaky-clean environment.
Every emerging next nature typically stresses some older nature. Time after time, we plant a new habituation, a new instinct, a second nature, that causes the first nature to dry out. What is now being experienced as a first nature has once been a second nature and every conquering second…
Set amid farmland in rural Japan, this small project is a bizarre hybrid of landscape art and infrastructure. It consists of a square, 20-space car park that looks as if it has been struck by an earthquake – its corners have been lifted into the air, its surface ripples and…
Fountains are peculiar objects: We associate them with nature even though they are typically entirely artificial and man-made (unless you are living in Iceland of course). Recently however, a fountain that wasn’t planned for emerged in California’s San Fernando Valley. An urban water pipe carrying purified recycled water, used for…
Has this tree gone Pac-Man on the power lines? In truth, the slice through the side of the tree is the work of ‘utility pruning.’ Topiary was once determined on entirely aesthetic lines, be it geometric shapes in formal gardens or more whimsical forms of animals or people. Now, the…
In suburbia, we hope to get away from it all. Unfortunately, everyone else has the same idea
In this essay, anti-civilization, anarchist philosopher John Zerzan critiques the concept of ‘next nature.’ He argues that rather than freeing us, our self-domestication through technology has created a disconnected, depressed and over-medicated population. Phenomena from global warming to workplace shootings are all symptoms of global human “progress” gone totally awry. If we abandon ‘technology’ in favor of ‘tools’, what are the next steps for humanity? …Read more
'In today’s mass techno-society, community has all but disappeared. And without social bonds and solidarity, anything can and does happen'
Media artists Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács remake the Disney classic Bambi by stripping away all the inhabitants. Disney’s utopian landscape is revealed.
Human Nature as Pathology
Modern society seems to have transformed human nature into a pathology. Our emotions are controlled by drugs. We are forced to operate within a narrow bandwith of what are considered ‘acceptable’ levels of emotion. We cannot go too far outside of this range, lest we be labeled an ‘other’, as a person out of control.…Read more
Wild Birds Illegally Immigrating to City Zoo
Besides the extensive collection of animals from around the planet, the Amsterdam City Zoo Artis also houses some local wild species on its premises who immigrated into the zoo on their own initiative.
The blue heron, a local bird living around the city of Amsterdam, appreciates the housing conditions in the Zoo so much that there is now a whole colony of them living in the Zoo.…Read more
Living with Nature in the Post-Suburbs
MoMA in New York has a new exhibit exploring what can be done with American’s only seemingly inexhaustible resource: foreclosed homes and sparsely inhabited suburbs. Nature-City, a proposal by WORKac, turns the cookie-cutter town of Keizer, Oregon into a model city that incorporates just about every on-trend proposition in urban planning.…Read more