Philip Beesley’s Hilozoic Soil

…the glass-like fragility of this artificial forest, built of an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic tiles, is visually breathtaking. Its frond extremities arch uncannily towards those who venture into its midst, reaching out to stroke and be stroked like the feather or fur or hair of some mysterious animal…. [Fundacion Telefonica Jury, 1st prize, VIDA 11.0]

If you’re not already aware we would like to introduce you to the strange bio-tech world of Philip Beesley. We say strange because unlike anyone else we’ve seen it’s Beesley’s work that simultaneously fascinates and repels us. The intricacy of the delicate tectonics, and the visual depth of the work is a convincing display of mechanical reproduction. But the theatrical presence of the work in a space leave little in the way of subtlety. More over there’s an uncanniness to his environments that goes beyond the simple amalgamation of life and machine.

This is no Frankenstein, but there’s undoubtedly something creepy here. From and Animal Architecture point of view, Beesley’s work contentiously resists immediate categorizations. It is neither (exactly) living nor life-less and it’s not directly biomimetic, though clearly there is some inspiration from the biological world… And as such a confounding set of work we’re absolutely enthralled. We have a feeling we’ll be watching Beesley more closely from here on.

Philip Beesley is a trained Architect in Canada and this year’s Canadian representative at the Venice Bienalle. His work has been widely published in a variety of magazines from AD, to Wired, to Domus and many other international publications. For more information about him and his work visit and his press kit can be viewed here. For more information about this year’s Venetian Bienalle check out their website here.

All images courtesy of Philip Beesley.

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