Mitchell Joachim: Don’t think the future, grow it!

Presentation by Mitchell Joachim at PICNIC’10 was perhaps the most ‘futuristic’ of all; his famous characteristic visualizations always help in conveying the theme of the possible futures very vividly and powerfully. Just look at the pictures above: flying cars, self-growing homes, a distinctive organotechnological look&feel of his imaginary worlds, what else can you wish from the ‘visions of the futures’?

For those who wasn’t familiar with the ideas of Joachim, a visionary architect and a founder of the Terreform , his talk could be a mind-blower. For those already familiar – and Mitchell is a frequent speaker at various conference, presenter at TED, and his images have been used as cover pages of many magazines, including as by Popular Science most recently – there was hardly anything new said. I put a few slides from his talk to the set in Flickr (Future City Mobility), and as one can see, all the imagery used has been is already widely circulated on the web (that’s not a critique at all, the talks was nevertheless very interesting).

For me personally the most interesting part was in the twist he made in the last few slides, when he start talking about an ‘organ architecture’; such as an imaginary Meat House (see below). This was a bit off track of the topic ‘mobility’, and more in line with his interest to everything living.

The image (and the very concept, of the tissue-like materials to be used in the future) reminded me the year 1999, when I just joined Philips Design as a trend researcher. I remember that one of the first ideas I tried to bring to the team discussion was of organic, ‘living’ materials; a table or a chair one would ‘grow’, not design. I argued that we need to explore this topic more, and specifically the new dimensions of perception of such ‘living materials’ by people, including all the ethical and aesthetic dimensions. To my disappointment, the topic wasn’t picked up at all, the materials used by Philips then were miles away from the organic, living one (they still are, even now). Oh, well, the future is not distributed evenly, as we know.

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