MycoMythologies: Patterning

 

MycoMythologies: Patterning is a biotechnological installation which captures growing fungal landscapes contaminated by the human microbiome – bacteria, fungi and archaea derived from the blood, sweat and tears of the artist. The growing and transforming fungal mycelium of Hericium erinaceus is viewed with a microscope and analysed by computer vision, where the images are rendered on three screens as they are mapped, sonified and collected into a database named Atlas of Collaborative Contamination. The installation questions if we can see ourselves as entangled rather than sovereign, reflecting on contamination as productive exchange between different life forms.

 

 
Short excerpt of the mycomyth about the healer named Hericium accompanying the installation.
 
Prototype draft for acquiring permit from World Networks Entanglement:
 
“Infrastructural node in the World Networks Entanglement provides an epigenetic environment for mushroom Hericium erinaceus. As an offering human healer patternist Hericium donated her blood, sweat and tears to braid contamination, dosing it slowly into a fungal environment. Not to shock, but nurture, negotiate and form xeno-patterns in the central pattern of the Entanglement Flow. Contamination always elludes control and so does the node in question, however there is a wish to include and collaborate. A wish was built in the node to produce cartographies of contamination collaboration with the integrated mapping device: collecting micrographs of contamination, charting maps and building ever evolving and transforming Atlas of Collaborative Contamination. All this to outline relations, to allow the stories of multiplicities to emerge, to develop caring methods of connecting and entangling, to finally be able to navigate patterns of intra- and interspecies complexities.”
 
Once the draft was scribbled Hericium started to wonder how we will ever learn to be many and diverse. Who knows. For her it was time to start prototyping the machine for cartographies of fungi-human ecologies. Permit or no permit, she sensed in the Flow that the world had a need.
 

 
MycoMythologies is a series of ontogenetic mythological stories, biotechnological installations Patterning and Rupture, storytelling workshops Storytelling Circle and a video essay Infrastructures for Each Other. The series researches the multilayered question of how mushrooms can help humans think about the possibilities of entangled life in capitalist ruins. As a speculative artistic research, MycoMythologies thinks not only about how fungal underground networks can inform humans, but also about how technologies tend to define the teachings that humans receive.
 

MycoMythologies: Patterning, 2021
Saša Spačal

Programming, mapping: Matic Potočnik
Sound, software design: Pim Boreel
Microbiology, technical support: Mirjan Švagelj
Sincere thanks: Toby Kiers, Loreto Oyarte Galvez, Malin Klein
Photographs: Marthe Vos, Saša Spačal

Production and support: Zone2Source, Projekt Atol, Toby Kiers Laboratory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Support: Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and Municipality of Ljubljana

MycoMythologies series expresses deep admiration for the wisdom, work and legacy of Lion’s Mane Hericium erinaceus, Octavia E. Butler, Oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus and Ursula K. Le Guin.

 

Nomination
Ars Electronica Starts Prize Nomination 2021

 

Solo Exhibitions
MycoMythologies, Culture Center Tobačna 001, Museum and City Galleries of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia [Oct. – Dec. 2021]
MycoMythologies, Biotroja – Center for Composting Culture, GHMP – Galerie hlavního města Prahy / Prague City Gallery with Prague City University, Prague, Czech Republic [July 2021]

Group Exhibition
Re:Tune Exhibition, curator Alice Smits, Zone2Source, Amsterdam, Netherlands [March – May, 2021]
 
 
MycoMythologies solo exhibitions at Cultural Center Tobačna 001, Prague City Gallery and group exhibition at Zone2Source
 


 

 

MycoMythologies:
Patterning
Saša Spačal

Biotechnological
installation

Zone2Source
Projekt Atol
Amsterdam Fonds voor Kunst
Dr. Toby Kiers Laboratory
Ecology department
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

2021