HUMAN NATURE – Publishers View

David R. Shah
March 20, 2024

VPC #14 – Publishers VIEW

We called this issue ‘Human Nature’, but, by that, we do not mean human character but humanity and its relationship with nature, the complex link between anthropoids and flora and fauna. The alarm bells are ringing all over: we are living in the age of the Anthropocene, the age of nuclear weapons, human-caused climate change and the proliferation of plastics, garbage, and concrete across the planet.

But the human being is still an animal belonging to the kingdom animalia. We depend on plants, fungi, algae and bacteria. Everything is connected. We need to work together with nature rather than trying to transform it, for, as we show in this issue, it’s a two-way relationship in terms of inspiration and knowledge.

We are learning that coming into contact with other living things is just as important as socializing with other human beings. Covid showed us how we wanted to be surrounded by pets and the unconditional love shared in the surprising science of animal friendships. Hugging our pets, touching their fur speaks to us somatically and touches our deepest senses.

As in the world of fauna, there is a wild side to us, the desire to break away, to wander the wild, to experience a world of our own rules. We dress ourselves in the golds and browns of fake animal skins and furs, colours and clothes that transform us, that give us a sense of power and merge us with the animal kingdom. We respect their strength and in a shamanic, totemic way venerate their divine character and relationship with supernatural forces.

Molluscs, crustaceans and the carapaces of turtles, beetles show us the shielding power of shimmering, changeant colours – startling, threatening, or distracting – as we protect ourselves against the elements and hardship. Then, like a chameleon, we learn the artifice of camouflage, hiding and disguising ourselves or blending in with the surroundings and mimicking the earth.

As we move into the digital age and forge our way into artificial reality and the metaverse, we recognize the wonder and excitement of transformation, regeneration, and changing form in a continuous series of transformations as we merge as new beings in whatever colour and form we choose: gelatinous, translucent, jelly-like, silken, adaptable...

In our own way, we are all terrestrial birds, majestic and arrogant, ever keen to preen, change our plumage, show off, strut and peacock, to tempt and flirt unashamed in a splendid palette of brights that speak of uninhibited exhibitionism. Just look at me!

Not least, but most surprisingly, it is in technology that nature has much to share with us. In robotics, it is insect and hexapod forms that have proved the most effective when it comes to movement and motion. The simplification of interfaces is allowing architects to leverage AI and bring the real or surreal natural world into eco-friendly future dwellings made from organic tissue and inspired by nature to be more sustainable, accessible, and in tune with the natural world. AI has turned symbiosis into a multi-sensory, multi-player, multi-colour extended reality experience that imagines an incongruously beautiful future world where man, nature, and machine all combine in new ways to live in harmony.

This doesn’t have to be a virtual story; it can work in real time too. If the will is there, we can evolve from the destructive to the nurturing, from dread to optimism with a sense of humanity that celebrates and respects diversity and bio-inclusive culture. We hope that our latest issue of Viewpoint Colour reflects this in some little way.

HUMAN NATURE – Publishers View

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Viewpoint Colour #14

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