The ISSP has helped support a project that combines architecture and art with living technology. The project, called Hylozoic Ground, will be presented at the Venice Biennale in Architecture, August 29th.

Hylozoism is the ancient belief that all matter has life, and it is exactly that thought that Philip Beesley has tried to explore with the Hylozoic Ground project.

Tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components are fitted with micro-processors 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.

With the Hylozoic Ground project, Philip Beesley is demonstrating how buildings in the future might move, and even feel and think. In a series of experimental installations that have attracted global attention, Beesley is leading a group of experts from science and art in creating a uniquely Canadian experimental architecture.

In the group is among others Dr. Rachel Armstrong who is leading the Hylozoic Ground team in developing its ground-breaking ‘Living Architecture’ chemical circulation systems. Armstrong is an interdisciplinary practitioner with a background in medicine and Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual And Technological Architectural Research) at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL who collaborates extensively with artists, scientists and architects to create new experimental spaces that re-engage with the fundamental creativity of science. Dr. Rachel Armstrong is also one of the main speakers at the upcoming event on Living Technology organized by the ISSP and held in Odense August 24.

Another of the main speakers at the at the upcoming event on Living Technology August 24, Associate Professor Martin Hanczyc is the
scientific designer and developer of the protocell technology that underpins the ‘living’ chemistry of the Hylozoic Ground’s innovative blend of different artificial life species. Hanczyc is Associate Professor at the Institute of Physics and Chemistry and the center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLinT) at University of Southern Denmark as well as a member of AVATAR and member of the ISSP Living Technology group.The ISSP is particularly proud to be a part of theHylozoic Ground project since it shows how architecture and science can work together in a revelatory manner towards the making of a more sustainable world. Beesley’s group is not only making artificial architecture but they are working with environmental filters that save energy and generate electricity. Thus the project also connects with some of the main issues discussed in the ISSP working group on Regional Sustainability.Still, from a living technology perspective the perhaps most significant about Hylozoic Ground is the structures that are creating “carbon-capture protocells”. These protocells shows great potential for a new science about “self-renewing architecture”. Through a chemical reaction with water, these cells create new material and could, theoretically, be the technology needed to repair the buildings of Venice, which are slowly sinking into the sea. The development of new science, the interdisciplinary use of knowledge and the thought of changing fundamental essentials towards a greater good are three elements that fits perfectly in the ISSP’s fundamental values.The main purpose of this funding is to enhance the interoperability between different sciences and above all to support the development of knowledge that can help the fundamentals in this world. For ISSP the knowledge the Hylozoic Ground project will come to produce constitute one highly interesting and innovative step in this direction.