Overgrow the System - The Living Lungs

Shangri-La, Glastonbury Festival, Somerset


Shangri-La Glasto






#overgrowthesystemcreations #livinglungsshangrila   

Trees breathe in what we breathe out, we breathe in what trees breathe out.

Mak Gilchrist teamed up with talented metal workers and sculptors, Flee Jones and Coco Lava to form the ‘Overgrow the System Creations’ collective. We debuted our first sculpture at Glastonbury Festival’s Shangri-la. 

‘The Living Lungs’ symbolise the lungs of the planet; forests, plant life and the ecosystems they support. Sculpted from up-cycled car parts which represent the polluting factors that choke our lungs, with 80-sites on the lungs for plants to be displayed, the lungs present a provocative visual to stimulate thought regarding the air we breathe, what cleans it and what pollutes it.

Instagram: overgrowthesystemcreations Twitter: @overgrowthesys1

We are a trio of artists, sculptors, urban green space designers with a collective passion surrounding the environmental climate crisis we face. For Glastonbury Festival 2019, we created a planted sculptural installation for the legendary Shangri-La field. The sculpture is constructed from recycled car parts, exhaust pipes, industrial machinery and sculpted tyres. These all represent polluting elements and industries that have led to deforestation and ultimately the climate emergency we now face. Our sculpture, hung from a telegraph pole, featured prominently in the field. The result was akin to a huge rebellious hanging basket. The Living Lungs, although having an industrial feel to them, are conversely soft and organic. The bronchioles divide and grow to create shelving for a selection of plants. The plants symbolise mother nature reclaiming, correcting and enveloping the catastrophic mess mankind’s insatiable appetite has caused. This provocative piece enforces the message that it is urgent we face the need to protect our planets forests and flora as we face the sixth mass extinction. 

This is a message of life and death, not just beautification.


4 m width x 1.5 m depth x 4.5 high


Mild Steel / Steel Exhausts / Synthetic Rubber Tyres / Recycled Plastic / Timber / Soil / Plants