Hylozoic Veil opened to the public on October 6, 2011 as part of the full opening of The Leonardo in Salt Lake City Utah. The work spans three stories and is made of hundreds of thousands of lightweight digitally fabricated components fitted with microprocessors and sensors. The glass-like fragility of this artificial forest is created by an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork links, covered with a network of interactive mechanical fronds, filters, and proximity sensors. Alongside mechanized component systems, a liquid system has been introduced into the environment, supporting simple chemical exchanges that share some of the properties of living organisms. This system is based on ‘protocells’, prototype cells that use inorganic ingredients combined into cell-like forms.
The installation at The Leonardo is preceded by sixteen stages of development that have been installed around the world. One of the most prominent of these was the 2010 Venice Biennale for Architecture, where the environment was selected to represent Canada. Each phase of this ongoing project has incorporated new features and improved engineering. The Leonardo’s installation is the largest project yet, and features many of the components that were installed in Venice. These have, however, been entirely reworked, making the details more durable and efficient, and increasing the movement and the stability of chemical reactions.