It has been a while since I had such a fascinating coffee table book (if I may call it that) in my hands. Next Nature is a book unlike any other, with bold graphics and statements, intriguing information about things anyone can relate to and surprising stories about the world we live in. It is easy to brows and yet I started at page one and read page by page as I didn't want to miss any information. I constantly had the urge to share what I discovered with people around me as well as my online social network.
What is this book about?
Next nature explains how nature changes along with us and explores the nature caused by people. It asks “what is nature”? A question we rarely ask even though we campaign to save nature and yearn to escape to nature. The authors of Next Nature believe that “where technology and nature are traditionally seen as opposed, they now appear to merge or even trade places. With our urge to design our environment, we cause the rising of a next nature that is unpredictable as ever. Nature changes along with us!”
The book is laid out like several magazines bound together into one book, each with their own cover and topic.
It starts with an introduction to basic Next Nature thinking, and starts to analyse why and how we need to rethink the relationship between people, nature and technology.
The next chapter is called Recreation and explores our image of nature. If you're interested in what nature is to people, or you want to share your nature spottings, check out the Next Nature iPhone App!
Wild Systems investigates how we should embrace complexity tells us how to guide growth. This tackles issues like new ecologies such as the noosphere, the technological sublime, climate (un)control, self-repairing architecture and the datafountain.
Then it is all about how we serve our systems as much as they serve us, in Office Garden. How technology domesticates people and what strategies we may employ to create more humane technology.
In Supermarket, my favourite part, we get to deal with food. Next Nature projects the supermarket as our next savanna and explores how we have become consumers of images rather than products. Biomimic marketing for example, is about how brands use images of nature to market products. You will be surprised how many current brands apply this technique.
Anthropomorphobia studies the relationship between people and products; how products are designed to imitate people, while people are increasingly perceived as products. Uncanny examples might give you the creeps but should not be ignored.
The last chapter, Back to the Tribe, conceals that new technologies not only separate us from nature, but may also revive ancient intuitions, propelling us forward rather than back to nature.
Where does the book come from?
The Next Nature book contains the best observations from nextnature.net, re-edited into a great collections of easy to read stories with stunning visuals and guest essays by Bruce Sterling, Kevin Kelly, Rachel Armstrong, Tracy Metz, Bas Haring, Peter Lunenfeld, and Jos de Mul.
Edited by Koert van Mensvoort and Hendrik-Jan Grievink
472 pages paperback
Published by Actar (Barcelona)
ISBN-10: 8492861533 / ISBN-13: 978-8492861538