Future 50: Arne Hendriks 01.08.13


Icon asked a dozen experts and practitioners to nominate the people they think are, in some way, shaping the future. The resulting list of global talent is a snapshot that shows how young designers and architects are pushing the boundaries of their disciplines and trying to change the world

Arne Hendriks believes that shrinking the human race is easier than shrinking human desires. His research project, The Incredible Shrinking Man, recommends smallness to a culture obsessed with growth. If you want abundance, he argues, shrink to 50cm tall. The proposal is that, through a programme of breeding and embracing the laws of proportions, we could downsize our consumption footprint to just two per cent and our average weight to 2kg. Hendriks' work incorporates years of research, spanning anthropology, bonsai, microphilia and "shrinklit"; physical experiments, from breeding zebra fish under varying light exposures to inhibit their growth to guinea pig farming to explore micro-livestock options for the future; and collaboration with scientists, designers, artists and those with latent expertise in smallness: children. Abundance may be killing us with obesity, pollution and global inequality, but Hendriks argues that it is possible to save humans without challenging our desire for cornucopia – albeit in a smaller form.






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