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Art Piece Uses Industrial Design to Mimic Living System

Art Piece Uses Industrial Design to Mimic Living System

Image source: philipbeesleyarchitect.com

A new art installation at Espace EDF Fondation uses biomimetic components made from materials more associated with industrial design than with biology to create a “living” system.

The piece, called Radiant Soil, is by architect Phillip Beesley, who describes it this way:

Radiant Soil forms interlinking clouds of industrial design biomimetic components of polymer, metal and glass, arranged in suspended filter layers contain a near-living carbon-capture metabolism. Frond-clusters fitted with shape-memory alloy mechanisms react to viewers as they approach, flexing and setting off bursts of light that stimulate the protocells and trigger chains of motion that ripple throughout the environment. Scent-emitting glands attract viewers and encourage interaction with the system, providing stimulus that increases air circulation and protocell formation.

According to the exhibition guide, the installation is interactive and responsive to visitors:

Radiant Soil is composed of tens of thousands of lightweight digitally-fabricated components that are fitted with microprocessors. Custom-fabricated layers of polymer, stainless steel skeletons and glass vessels make a hovering, layered set of cloud-like filters. The shape-memory alloy actuators within these filters stir air and stimulate the growth of prototype cells and other chemical processes housed within glass vessels.

Akin to breathing, delicate plumes of convective air move in response to visitors. Several different kinds of active liquid cells are integrated within glass flasks. These include protocells, organic power cells, storage vessels, and scent-lures. Protocells are prototype chemical cells that behave in ways that are similar to living cells. Organic power cells provide weak amounts of current in pulses like unconscious reflexes within a human nervous system. Masses of miniature vessels contain salt, sugar and oil solutions provide a humid soil-like layer. All together they contribute to create a ‘metabolic’ system in constant flux that filter the air.

Radiant Soil will be on exhibit at Espace EDF Fondation until September 1, 2013.

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