Earth Surface Machine


Implant Matrix, we read, is "an interactive geotextile that could be used for reinforcing landscapes and buildings of the future." It is a responsive latticework that, installed beneath soil, would act as a kind of a terrestrial prosthesis, a local replacement for the earth's surface. An earth surface machine.


The Implant can also be used, however, as a way to treat "an architectural building skin as a responsive textile," facilitating "active exchanges with building occupants." In the process, the machine would exhibit "mechanical empathy."


Which means what, exactly?
"Mechanical empathy" is described by the project's designers – Philip Beesley Architect of Toronto – as a kind of architectural eroticism. So if you're lonely... reach out and touch your house: "The components of this system are mechanisms that react to human occupants as erotic prey. The elements respond with subtle grasping and sucking motions. Arrays of ‘whisker’ capacitance sensors and shape-memory alloy actuators are used to achieve sensitive reflexive functions. The interactive elements operate in chained, rolling swells, producing a billowing motion. This motion creates a diffuse peristaltic pumping that pulls air and organic matter through the occupied space."


The assembly, in other words, with its micro-mechanical nerve endings, seems to mimic orgasm... Perhaps giving new meaning to earthquakes. (Read more in this PDF).
Two more, decidely cinematic, views of the Implant Matrix:


Of course, there is a bewildering array of other such projects by Philip Beesley Architect featured on their website, including Cybele, a kind of rubberized terrain-machine on stilts –


– which, seen from above in this next image, offers its own miniature landscape, another earth surface machine.


Then there's the hypnotically delicate Orpheus Filter, with its shivering infrastructure of virus-like bladders arranged in hanging constellations and blurred carousels (below).


But you can also see many, many more interactive machine-sculptures – like the William Burroughsian Orgone Reef, the amazing Hiving Quilt, or even the Reflexive Membrane, which looks like some sort of artificially intelligent alien surgical device – over at Philip Beesley Architect's online gallery. Then you should hire them to design something for you.

(Abstractly related: Strandbeestmovie. With huge thanks to Eric Bury for the tip! And... I just saw that Tropolism also featured the Implant Matrix, so check out their coverage for a bit more).

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3 Comments:

Blogger Michael Doyle said...

This is the coolest thing I've seen all week, if not all year. Thanks, Geoff.

June 27, 2006 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always wanted a whole room - nay a house, a city block - to be an orgone accumulator. Not to mention walls that detect me as "erotic prey," that cuddle me, that I can suckle. Feather-bed walls with built-in pacifiers.

But these porous bird-bone structures - are you supposed to bury them, turn them into gardens, AND live inside them? I'm confused...

June 27, 2006 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old news, new images.

Read JG Ballard's collection of short stories in Vermillion Sands --http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0881844225/103-2563663-8516667?v=glance&n=283155

There's the house that Beesley envisions, and the story that tells it's tragic tale.

Beesley should take a single mechanical organism, and realize it as a chandelier. That's a worthy start.

June 28, 2006 7:36 PM  

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