Transformation Design

Stepmother Nature

Vivian Huizenga
Practice Commercial Practices
Project New Frontiers
Major Transformation Design
Year Fourth Year

Nominee: Drempelprijs Commercial Practices 2020

For my graduation project STEPMOTHER NATURE, I did research into a possible future where our experiences of nature are artificially generated. This can be experienced soon in a short fictional film. The inspiration for this project comes from the realisation that wild unspoiled nature no longer seems to exist in the urban environment and is also being threatened more and more outside of our cities. Nature in the city is completely directed by humans and in this way, it loses its essence and authentic elements.

With Stepmother nature I am critical of the current experience of nature in the city. Planting more trees alone is not enough. A real experience of nature goes beyond looking at a tree from a bench. Urban nature does not always invite interaction and experience. What if mankind has to rely on technology to recreate and really experience the essence of authentic nature in future cities?

Sneak peak scene 1. Director of Photography Vince van der Pol, Gaffer Christianne Besems, Fotograaf Rowen Frances, Make-up and hair Lilou Woradee, Styling assistant Mandy Langens, Acteur Diaz Knöbel & Sophie Reinders.

Stepmother nature is a film and installation that takes certain elements from a natural landscape and magnifies them and brings them to life in an artificially generated environment. Here I search for the border between digital and physical, real and fake. As such the viewer is challenged to think which forms of nature they have at their disposal and how they make use of it.

Many of us do not yet want to see artificial nature as a replacement for real nature, we cannot lay the two on top of each other, but perhaps in the future, we can lay them next to each other. What if technology alongside current nature in cities can offer extra satisfaction, benefits for our health and depth of experience? Can technology seduce the brain to experience the original nature in a domestic environment? Stepmother nature shows a possible future where the viewer himself can decide whether the image is a utopian or a dystopian one.

In the first scene, naturalists (future creators of customized natural experiences) stand on the assembly line in factory space and are in the process of producing loose elements of nature, crafted to perfection. This scene is a representation of the control that man exerts on nature. The landscapes and natural elements that pass by on the conveyor belt in the factory space look artificial. After the experience has been added to nature by naturalists, the natural elements then come to life on a truly large scale inside a living room. In Scene two (which is still to be filmed), we are now in Puck’s living room. Here the artificially generated natural experiences are present, each depicting their manufacturability and showing a new and different coexistence of man and nature.

However, already familiar acts of man and nature are magnified. It questions what role this new nature could play in the home and whether existing interactions with nature still play a role. In the film, the installations give off warmth, a cool breeze and changing weather conditions. Plants move with the wind and critters walk across the table: nature comes to life. By means of 4d sound, you feel like you are surrounded by nature. It is a space where astonishment, curiosity, fantasy and wonder are central and where the protagonist discovers which forms of nature experience and sensory stimulation this space can bring her.

Draft scene 2