User:Jules/naturetechnology

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“It reminds me of a scene in Interstellar.”

For this project, a panel of 17 volunteers have been asked to rate a set of 25 video extracts of 15 seconds each. The rating has been established on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 corresponds to nature and 10 to technology. Sometimes, the volunteers explained the motivation behind the decisions they made. The average grades defined the positioning of the videos in the final montage. The result functions as a gradient, from one idea to the other. Interestingly the results are extremely variable from one person to another, underlining the difficult aspect of drawing a line between the two notions. The mental representation we have of what is natural and what is technological can conflict with the actual traces of human involvement to generate those representations.

To Aristotle, natural objects possess an internal source of movement. How could a thing be mobile yet perfectly autonomous? Jean Jacques Rousseau believed that man is naturally good but eventually becomes corrupted by society. Has there ever been such a thing as a human exempt of culture? If so, would this really correspond to what we call human?

This traditional opposition of nature and culture has imposed the myth of a nature that would be impermeable to human activity. Cell towers take the shape of trees, potatoe seeds are patented, salmons are genetically modified, data can travel at a speed equivalent to 99.7% the one of light in vacuum. Technology is getting hardly distinguishable from nature. Yet, by making a quick image search on the Internet, it is obvious that the current state of things differ a lot from the iconography we maintain. At this point, it feels wrong to envision nature and technology as antagonist forces instead of accepting the intricate relationship they have developed. Bees live off the pollen of the flowers they forage, and they propagate their seeds across the land in return. This phenomenon applies to human activity within the environment where it happens.

Establishing categorizations always involves the creation of a template to put varied things more or less fitting with the stereotype. By making an abstraction we draw a simplification that gets superimposed onto our experience of reality. The image that we have of nature tends to appear like a reassuring mental construction, a utopia, perhaps even a fallacy sometimes. If a nature exempt of technology felt so peaceful to us, why would we have resisted against our environment to reach the current technological stage we are at? Perhaps we are technological by nature and instead of putting a line between things we should consider their merging.