Applied Design Research: Hylozoic Soil

One of my favourite projects which is a great example of research, theory, and provocation that meets technology includes the ‘Hylozoic Soil’ by Philip Beesley.

In this project Beesley presents a technological structure that is intended to ‘live’ and behave as though it were an organism. The many features of the piece mimic those within our own body; the reef is aware of the presence of people in a space and reacts accordingly, wet chemistry mimics our lymphatic system–in this case used as analogous to a filtration processes, microprocessors and memory serve as the life centre of the structure, allowing it to move, react and conform as it remembers and learns its environment. Overall the piece is reflective of a living material that responds as though it were living in relation to its context–this is the epitome of living architecture that adapts to its environment.

This project offers inspiration to the thesis project because it is working piece of technology that is both crude and refined and so, appears as an ideal blend of technology and nature while evoking responses in users. The piece as a whole is not explicit in its intentions but rather ‘slow’ and learnable via interaction. These are all qualities that I wish to maintain in developing the interactive component for my thesis.

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