Next Nature: We have transformed nature into a new setting

At the What Design Can Do conference Next Nature asked what design can do for the technology debate, citing the example of their “Nano Supermarket”.

As humans we have evolved from living close to and in tune with nature, to a point where we feel we need to protect ourselves from nature, explained Koert van Mensvoort and Hendrik-Jan Grievink of Next Nature at the What Design Can Do conference in Amsterdam.

They explain that the world we’ve created is so complex that it has a nature of its own, “a nature caused by human beings” or a “next nature”.

The duo challenge the idea that nature is something that humans have not touched, arguing that with technology and our desire to control nature we have transformed nature into a new setting.

Van Mensvoort and Grievink also talk about Nanotechnology, looking specifically at how it will change our lives. They take the discussion to the supermarket, looking at it as a type of “reality machine” and the place to have the debate about the impact of emerging technology.

Looking at ways to domesticate technology, as we’ve done with nature, they present the Nano Supermarket – a travelling exhibition of speculative designs by artists, engineers and designers of possible future scenarios. The Nano Supermarket aims to promote a better understanding of how things are changing, citing examples of interactive paint and charging your mobile phone using your own belly fat.