Epiphyte Chamber by Philip Beesley (awarded a prize in VIDA 11.0) has received an Honourable Mention in the category of Interactive Art in the Prix Ars Electronica, held each year by the Ars Electronica festival in Linz (Austria). Continuing with his work focused on the relationship between architecture and artificial life, in this piece Beesley explores the creation of a space that interacts with people. The artist emulates an epiphyte (a type of plant that lives on trunks or branches and does not touch the ground, such as ferns, lichens and mosses) through a great number of artificial components arranged in “floating islands” and furnished with sensors and motors that allow them to move and react to the presence of the people who visit the installation. As a whole, the piece considers the possibility of creating a semi-living environment that generates emotional responses in the public. Upon interacting with its elements, people can feel a relationship of certain intimacy or even empathy with the space that surrounds them and that provides them subtle responses in the form of movements and soft puffs of air.
The piece establishes connections among its different parts, following the principle applied by Beesley in his piece that won an award in VIDA 11.0, Hylozoic Soil, which presents the possibility of considering all material to be alive and interconnected. Here the artist also develops a proposal for architecture of the future, in which the spaces in which we live can behave as living matter that interacts with us. Epiphyte Chamber can be seen at the Ars Electronica festival in Linz as of 4 September.