Sonic Acts is a biannual festival at the intersection of arts, science, music & technology.

Beesley presents a detailed tour through his recent interactive immersive environments. Discussion of implications of interactive architecture will be offered, commenting on behaviours and interactive qualities of these installations. Illustrated projects will include the Hylozoic Soil series, an immersive interactive reef construction composed of overlapping flexible meshworks populated with kinetic ‘pores’, installed in a series of European spaces and the 2010 Venice Biennale. Also included will be the 2008-9 Epithelium series, which integrates air-muscle powered suspended meshworks, densely massed whiskers, and delicate ground-works of skeletal tripod-fields powered by organic power units organized as unit-clusters with faint signal-lure lights, microprocessor-controlled burrowing agents and space-filling filter packs. A cultural tradition is be explored in the talk, placing these new works within a context of work that questions the long history of humanism. The argument attempts a stance in an intertwined world moving beyond closed systems, pursuing mutually dependent relationships. An ambivalent argument will question expansion of human domain, considering the continuing ‘progress’ of the Enlightenment while also pursuing opposing qualities of sentiment and empathy commonly associated with nineteenth and twentieth-century anti-Modern aesthetics.

Philip Beesley (CA) focuses on field-oriented sculpture and landscape installations, with extensions in stage design and buildings. His projects have increasingly incorporated immersive digitally fabricated lightweight textile structures, and feature interactive systems that use dense arrays of microprocessor, sensors and actuators.

This lecture was part of Sonic Acts XIII within a session called Gardeners of the Future. This session was about the following: In order to survive the near future, humans need to rapidly adapt to the challenges ahead. Artists will play an important role in ‘gardening’ the future, not only by shifting from computer technology to biology and genetic engineering, but also by starting to understand the universe as a single, large natural algorithm that needs gardening in order to function in a sustainable way.

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