Hylozoic Ground is an immersive, interactive environment that moves and breathes around its viewers. This environment can ‘feel’ and ‘care’. Next-generation artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and interactive technology create an environment that is nearly alive.
I came across Philip Beesley’s piece Hylozoic Ground on the Art Monitor today and that little doily voice began calling out to me. The piece which is included in the Canadian Pavillion at the Venice biannual is neither a doily nor a web but I’m sure you’ll recognize what drew me to it. What at first glance appear to be lace columns and canopies are actually an “intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork links, covered with a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters, and whiskers.”
Beesley’s project website states that “tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components are fitted with microprocessors and proximity sensors that react to human presence. This responsive environment functions like a giant lung that breathes in and out around its occupants. Arrays of touch sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators (a type of non-motorized kinetic mechanism) create waves of empathic motion, luring visitors into the eerie shimmering depths of a mythical landscape, a fragile forest of light.”
The Venice Biannual is hands down the most prestigious international art event to be included in. Over 25 countries send representatives in film, music, architecture and contemporary art, and the list of artists who have be featured is impressive. Well done Beesley, you are joining an elite club!