Keynote: Philip Beesley

Keynote: Philip Beesley

Prof. Philip Beesley
Philip Beesley is an associate professor in the School of Architecture, University of Waterloo who creates immersive, responsive environments. His projects feature interactive kinetic systems that use dense arrays of microprocessors, sensors and actuator systems arranged within lightweight ‘textile’ structures. These environments pursue distributed emotional consciousness within synthetic and near-living systems.

His current Hylozoic Ground project is a uniquely Canadian experimental architecture that explores qualities of contemporary wilderness. The project will transform the Canadian Pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale with an environment made of tens of thousands of digitally-fabricated components fitted with meshed microprocessors and sensors. The glass-like fragility of this artificial forest is built of an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork links, covered with a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters and whiskers. The environment is similar to a coral reef, following cycles of opening, clamping, filtering and digesting. Arrays of touch sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators create waves of diffuse breathing motion, luring visitors into eerie shimmering depths of a forest of light.

Beesley’s work is widely published and exhibited, and has been distinguished by awards including VIDA 11.0 and FEIDAD, and by the Prix de Rome in Architecture (Canada). ┬áHe was educated in visual art at Queen’s University, in technology at Humber College, and in architecture at the University of Toronto.

Hylozoic Ground: Meduse Field, PBAI, Quebec City 2010. Photograph: Pierre Charron.