John Cage was apparently into mushrooms. Not only a composer and pioneer of indeterminate music, he was also a keen amateur mycologist, a branch of biology with its focus on fungi. London-based artists Anne de Boer and Eloïse Bonneviot have found a fascination in the field too, not only cultivating The Mycological Twist installation at London’s Jupiter Woods where the artists are growing their own mushrooms, but composing their own ‘Shroom Music & Myco_educational_VJ-set’ extolling on its benefits. Performing the audiovisual performance-installation from one of the “storage islands” in the “co-working archipelago” of Apophenia, the duo set a lo-fi projection of saturated images, words and instructions to a playlist that spanned New Age, trance, psychedelia and maybe a bit of funk, at Salford’s Regent Trading Estate on December 6.
That VJ-DJ performance opened a night full of them at a provisional “industrial sculpture and storage park” constructed by artists-in-residence Josephine Callaghan, Susanna Davies-Crook and Gery Georgieva and carved out by equally ephemeral light in the Regent Trading Estate space. Guests invited to perform within the “jumble of assets” inspired by the experience of finding patterns and associations in random data (from which Apophenia takes its name), included de Boer and Bonnevoit, as well as New Noveta and Patchfinder, while Joey Holder contributed three Jacuzzi shells from the artist’s HYDROZOAN exhibition at The Royal Standard in Liverpool.
“Mushrooms, like every sexually reproducing organism on this planet, can generate a limited number of cell division before vitality falters”, Bonnevoit warns in her live and intermittent notes on mycology throughout the ‘Shroom Music & Myco_educational_VJ-set’. That’s followed by the swelling, bulging and throbbing time-lapse imagery of fungi growing and reproducing, while a woman’s voice sings, “why don’t you lay your head back, open your lips and take a sip” over a tune that can only be described as ‘groovy’. It’s an un-Googleable song called ‘Fourth Dimensional’ by Aquafur, taken from what de Boer calls a “chillwave/psybient/triphop” compilation CD. Its jerky “fourth-dimensional, super-expressional, soul-continual, verging on criminal” refrain prefaces an eventual shift in mood, from awkwardly sexy ‘funkwave’ to angry industrial, as Bonnevoit puts out the appeal, “I strongly believe that the future health of the planet may well depend on the strains we preserve this century”. **
Event photos, top-right.