Skip to Content

Philip Beesley and Iris van Herpen

New Bodies, New Worlds: The Collaborative Work of Iris van Herpen and Philip Beesley


Thursday, October 27, 2016
5:10 pm


In-person Event

Michigan Theater
603 E Liberty St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

Since their first con­ver­sa­tions in 2012, Ate­lier van Her­pen stu­dio in Ams­ter­dam and Beesley’s Liv­ing Archi­tec­ture Sys­tems Group have been co-cre­at­ing inno­v­a­tive cou­ture that has been worn by celebri­ties, cir­cu­lated in mul­ti­ple exhi­bi­tions, and hailed by global crit­ics. Work­ing within a wide com­mu­nity of sci­en­tists, engi­neers, and artists, Iris van Her­pen and Philip Beesley’s col­lab­o­ra­tive explo­rations com­bine exquis­itely detailed hand-crafted mate­ri­als into three-dimen­sional fab­rics, incor­po­rat­ing instru­ment and tool­mak­ing, advanced man­u­fac­tur­ing, next-gen­er­a­tion com­pu­ta­tion and arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, and sub­tle phe­nom­ena inspired by the nat­ural world. New Bod­ies, New Worlds offers a unique view of Van Her­pen and Beesley’s col­lab­o­ra­tive work.

Philip Beesley is a prac­tic­ing visual artist, archi­tect, and pro­fes­sor whose work is focused on rapidly expand­ing tech­nol­ogy and the cul­ture of respon­sive and inter­ac­tive sys­tems. Beesley’s col­lab­o­ra­tive work has the poten­tial to change how we build archi­tec­ture by trans­form­ing the phys­i­cal struc­tures that sup­port build­ings, the tech­ni­cal sys­tems that con­trol them, and fun­da­men­tal rela­tion­ships with the nat­ural world sur­round­ing them. Philip Beesley’s Liv­ing Archi­tec­ture Sys­tems Group employs meth­ods that incor­po­rate indus­trial design, dig­i­tal pro­to­typ­ing, instru­ment mak­ing, and mecha­tron­ics engi­neer­ing. Beesley has authored and edited six­teen books and pro­ceed­ings, and his work was selected to rep­re­sent Canada at the 2010 Venice Bien­nale for Archi­tec­ture. He has been rec­og­nized by the Prix de Rome in Archi­tec­ture, VIDA 11.0, FEI­DAD, two Gov­er­nor General’s Awards, Archi­tizer A+ Art Award, and as a Katerva finalist.

Iris van Her­pen stands for reci­procity between crafts­man­ship and inno­va­tion in tech­nique and mate­ri­als. She cre­ates a mod­ern view on Haute Cou­ture that com­bines fine hand­work tech­niques with dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. Van Her­pen forces fash­ion to the extreme con­tra­dic­tion between beauty and regen­er­a­tion. Iris’ designs require a unique treat­ment and cre­ation of mate­r­ial. For this rea­son, van Her­pen prefers inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research and often col­lab­o­rates with other artists and sci­en­tists. She states: For me fash­ion is an expres­sion of art that is very closely related to me and to my body. I see it as my expres­sion of iden­tity com­bined with desire, moods, and cul­tural set­ting. In all my work I try to make clear that fash­ion is an artis­tic expres­sion […] With my work I intend to show that fash­ion can cer­tainly have an added value to the world, that it can be time­less and that its con­sump­tion can be less impor­tant than its beginning.”

Sarah Schle­un­ing, con­ver­sa­tion mod­er­a­tor, is the cura­tor of dec­o­ra­tive arts and design at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Geor­gia. She curated the tour­ing exhi­bi­tion, Iris van Her­pen: Trans­form­ing Fash­ion, on view at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from Octo­ber 23, 2016 through Jan­u­ary 152017.

In Part­ner­ship with the Asso­ci­a­tion for Com­puter Aided Design in Archi­tec­ture (ACA­DIA), Taub­man Col­lege, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.