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Blog authored by Patrick Bek, STEAMhouse Crew.
Exploring the future of nature
We recently invited Amsterdam-headquartered international collective, Next Nature Network to collaborate with us on the design and delivery of two of our STEAM Labs.
STEAM Labs are highly experimental collaborative workshops where participants work together to explore an aspect of STEAM practice. The aim of a STEAM Lab is to impel participants to think about the development of projects, products, and services in completely new ways.
The concept for this lab was to invite participants to take part in two online workshops, that would strike up a conversation about the future of nature on planet earth. We were challenged to reflect, discuss, and generate ideas as we explored topics such as deep time, extreme long-term thinking, ecology and economy, and rethinking food systems. Arida and Rachel from Next Nature Network presented us with the provocation that symbiosis between nature and technology is inevitable and that we’re already witnessing it, perhaps without us noticing.
The first STEAM Lab encouraged participants to explore, ‘what is nature?’ by proposing that our notions of nature have altered throughout history. They posited that for the past few centuries, our notion of nature has been in line with the Roman interpretation: nature is born, while culture is everything made by man.
Yet, as we are living in a time of genetic modification and climate control, this distinction between ‘made’ and ‘born’ becomes less meaningful. At the same time, man-made systems have become so complex and autonomous that we’ve started to perceive them as nature. Participants discussed these shifts to consider how their own creative or professional practice considers nature.
During our second session with Arida and Rachel, we explored the ‘Pyramid of Technology’, a model proposed by artist and philosopher, Koert Van Mensvoort to describe the various levels at which technology may function in our lives. The pyramid is inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Maslow, 1943), which describes human requirements like nutrition, shelter, security and love in subsequent stages. Similar to Maslow’s model, Mensvoort proposes that technologies can move up and down through various levels of the pyramid, whole lower stages need to be fulfilled before the next stage can be attained. Participants had a go at using the tool, aimed at scientists, inventors, engineers, designers and entrepreneurs, to position themselves and their work in the playing field of technological development.
To find out more about some of the topics explored in this STEAM Lab, check out the following links:
Next Nature Network
The Pyramid of technology
STEAM Labs are an ongoing series of experimental workshops by STEAMhouse and inspirational guest contributors.
This spring we’ll be hosting sessions on the power of storytelling and exploring what entrepreneurs and startups can learn from graffiti culture – sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about these and more, here.
Thank you to our guest hosts
Next Nature Network
To discover how you can create a STEAM Lab of your own or to get more information about joining STEAMhouse, please get in touch.