Artificial “natural”

Lisa Katayama’s recent guest posts at Boing Boing have been great; they should kick out the Bigfoot guy and take her on as a permanent blogger in his place. Nevertheless, this is kind of abusing the word “natural”:

For his upcoming exhibit in Tokyo, designer Tokujin Yoshioka is making a natural crystal chair from scratch. He’ll do this by submerging a nucleation-inducing fiber structure in four giant tanks of water, and then letting visitors watch as crystals form and the chair grows into its natural shape. (This image shows the artist working on a prototype.) The exhibit kicks off on October 17, and features other cool artsy objects made entirely out of nature.

Now, I do think the chair in question is pretty cool. And you’ll see worse abuses of “natural” on the shelves at your local grocery store. But the formation of the chair requires the prior construction of a chair-shaped fiber structure. It might be a novel process of shaping the material, but it’s about as natural as casting something from a mold.

One thought on “Artificial “natural”

  1. Mason Porter

    Another bad use of the word “natural” is when mathematicians use that term to describe their assumptions, which could range anywhere from ‘Well, they were natural to me.’ (at best) to assumptions that were needed to bypass obstacles to proofs that happened to show up along the way. Not to be cynical or anything… (but it comes pretty naturally to me).

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