Cradle @ La Biennale di Venezia

Composition for audiovisual installation in 4DSOUND
in collaboration with Philip Beesley, Warren du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones.

Grove is a delicate and beautiful gathering space that offers a vision for inclusive, open building. A soaring, undulatingcanopy of luminous, lace-like clouds embedded with liquid-filled glass vessels hovers above a central pool-shapedscreen, into which a film, called Grove Cradle, by London-based Warren du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones is projected. The projection pool is surrounded by a forest of totemic, basket-like columns with embedded customspeakers that carry a 4DSOUND spatial sound composition by Salvador Breed.

Grove is open to the public at the Arsenale – one of the main exhibition venues of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia from May 22 to November 21, 2021.

Together, the film and sound environment offer visitors an almost overwhelmingly intense experience of innumerable worlds falling into chaos and rising again in new life. Inspired by the form language of Beesley’s “living architecture” environments, the film’s intricate geometries move from inert crystalline minerals into surging lifeforms.

Within an astral, dream-like vision of constant metamorphosis, a child-like being emerges, reflecting thefundamental journey from death into new life. Rising and falling in cycles, deeply fragmented wilderness isinterwoven with shimmering, hopeful light. Whispering voices emerge from cavernous depths, creating anemotional passage from suffering through new life and innocent wonder.

Initially conceived of as a robustlyphysical, densely interactive environment, it soon became clear that a different type of public installation wasrequired during a global pandemic. So Beesley looked to ways of creating expanded and enhanced physical and virtual experiences by working with collaborators in sound and film. The result is a new type of multimediainstallation that re-interprets the interwoven layers and constantly transforming, near-to-life qualities of Beesley’simmersive architectural visions. It is also a direct response to the urgent question posed by the title of HashimSarkis’s exhibition. “How will we live together?”

Beesley and his collaborators offer a vision of a transformed world where future architecture seeks communion with plants, animals, and inert matter alike. Free citizenship was long defined byprotective city walls, yet those same walls have also fueled catastrophic changes that befall us now. Instead of therigid, bounded, and closed territories that divide us, can we live in open, constantly exchanging, shared worlds? Can a new architecture based on dissipative natural forms, such as fragile snowflakes and shifting clouds, create buildingsthat that are both unapologetically sensitive and extraordinarily coherent, self-renewing, strong, and resilient?

Grove is open to the public at the Arsenale – one of the main exhibition venues of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia.

May 22 to November 21, 2021.
Arsenale, La Biennale di Venezia.

Philip Beesley
Warren du Preez & Nick Thornton Jones
Living Architecture Systems Group
Biennale Architettura 2021