A project developed by Eloïse Bonneviotand Anne de Boer, and in collaboration with a number of other artists, The Mycological Twist began in 2014 in London’s Jupiter Wood’s garden, and continues to function as an extension of the space to “investigate the cycle of deterioration and regeneration happening in zones of Dark Ecology.” The exhibition will explore the world of ‘Fungitopia’ and ways to re-connect and re-image our place within the ecosystem.
The event inaugurates project space Friche’s new programme Diaspora that hosts events concerned with the nature of ecosystems, as well as Friche Broadcasts, a curatorial programme looking at plant communication and social interaction and bring together work and research by artists, scientists, designers, chefs and other members of the community interested in the premise.
The event is a continuation of her ongoing series Thinking Like a Mountain, a term coined by Aldo Leopold. The series explores thinking of the mountain’s ecosystem in terms of what is good for the mountain, rather than what is good for the human.
Friend and Foe “translates the desire for humans to assimilate with their surroundings” and “sums up the contact with this danger and the fascination with it”. It is about the merging of humans and tools — instead of nature, but more specifically the “prosthesis they are using to survive”.
It seems the works installed in the small space, which used to be a garage, will focus exclusively on zones of contact between species, human and non-human, and the interdependence, commodification and new imagination that these points of experience bring.
In the”collection of stuff made by people open to the public”, is a website called weareone.computer, where someone counts out loud endlessly, to infinity, a series of online salon-style live ‘unreleased’ talks streamed to Facebook and enacted by fictional characters. The FB event promises it’s from a list of “renowned public speakers”, an invited audience from around the world via website Fiverr, and an audio-guide by Fisher around the exhibitions.
The press release is on a Google doc, and there is a drawing in html code on the FB invite. Recent School of the Damned graduate, Fisher generates work that belies its awareness of himself as user, producer, protagonist, and ‘artist’.
The Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) group show is on at Paris’ Exo, opening May 12 through May 19.
The exhibition —the title of which translates to ‘Roadside Picnic’ in English —includes work by the likes of Viktor Timofeev, Jason Benson, Martin Kohout, and Hannah Lees, each of whom have contributed a lot to the art world’s conversation on human self-comprehension and the related speculation around the existence of the ‘natural’ world during “The Time of The Anthropocene”, to quote philosopher Bruno Latour, who’s words are echoed in the press release.
The show borrows its title from 1970s Russian science fiction novel of the same name about an extraterrestrial occurrence called ‘The Visitation’, that happened for two days across six sites simultaneously, unbeknownst to the local people. The book compares the event to a picnic, while the exhibition’s press release also includes a paragraph from Annihilation (2014) by Jeff Vandermeer that describes a picture of the discovery of left-over rusted equipment and tents that were “little more than husks” in an aftermath of an expedition made by humans gone long before.
As part of a series curated by Green Ray c0-founder Gabriela Acha, Bonneviot’s show is the first of several that include another one by the London-based artist on May 16, as well as events, installations and performances by Marija Bozinovska-Jones, Joey Holder and Janina Lange.
The performance is introduced with an excerpt of lyrics from the softly sardonic song ‘Big Science‘ by artist Laurie Anderson (“Big Science./ Hallelujah.”) and a description that extrapolates on the effects of Big Data and automation on the body, language, abstraction and the paradoxical relationship between culture, nature and technology: “What is progress after all?”
Abjects, a group exhibition at Berlin’s Import Projects, curated by Franziska Sophie Wildförster, brought together artists’ Eloïse Bonneviot,Emily Jones, Paul Kneale, Yuri Pattison andAndrew Norman Wilson,which ran from September 19 to October 25, 2015. Julia Kristeva’s theory of the abject is summarised in the press release, acting as a foundation from which the works depart and expand on a contemporary experience of the vulnerable body. Shifting from a focus of disgust and revulsion at the raw corporeal materiality, the exhibition finds disturbance within the disparity between a disembodied, infinite connectedness of the immaterial and the opaque constraints produced by the digital economy. The works reflect on the hidden pathways that lurk under, above and in between a contemporary experience mediated within the age of technology and information.
The installation is clean and institutionalised. Pattison presents us with a makeshift desk made of steel shelving titled ‘productivity table’. Six Modafinil tablets (used for combatting fatigue and distraction) are laid out beside a Google prototype computer. The exposed aesthetic extends into ‘dust, scraper, fan .1-5′; a set of five rectangular acrylic boxes placed on the wall and floor of the gallery. Jones’ ‘The Draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq’ combines a picketing aesthetic with factual and instructional language within three separate sculptural assemblages. Sitting between a cenotaph and a memorial, a yellow sign that reads, “They were shouting and singing at the top of their lungs” is held up by bits of wood clumsily nailed together. Beside that lies another yellow sign quietly placed on the floor that announces, “The use of force may be necessary to protect life.”
Framed between the signs in the first room, Bonneviot’s tent sits in the doorway of the second. Titled ‘Thinking Like A Mountain—Limited’ the installation fills the small personal space with camping gear, energy bar wrappers, notes of paper and a laptop playing a video game. The recreation is unclear but the aesthetics combine the act of trekking, whether in camping, protesting or the passing of time in a ‘gaming hole’.
Also strongly focusing on material and its residue, Wilson’s ‘Global Mosquito City Proposal’ uses the hardware of a computer to create a sci-fi housing scenario. Two dolls are propped on top of each other in a sexual act. Computer parts, concrete, resin, oil paint, pepper, plastic, acrylic paint, foam and cotton are forced together into an abrasive dollhouse. Beside it, a proposition to Bill and Melinda Gates asks for a contribution of “their blood to malaria mosquito larvae that could potentially be nurtured in this computer-habitat to erase all human beings around the world.”
Outside the window, a bag of water hangs delicately. Titled ‘Insect Repellant’ it encases hydrochloric acid, liquified coins, and copper. In contrast to the sic-fi machine invested manifesto, Kneale’s ‘Aphasia Tags and Performative Empathy’ presents abstract images; the content barely recognisable. Light and hopeful, the images are layers of time made by using the ‘scan’ function of a printer, leaving the lid open. The mechanics replace the intent, and the painterly result is naturalistic in its use of space, daylight and floating particles.**
Eloïse Bonneviot is presenting a solo exhibition Thinking like a Mountain at London’s Green Ray, opening January 29 and running to February 20.
Described as a “data pool” that blurs the line between the ‘artificial’ and the ‘natural’, the show explores this lack of said disinction through “different levels of intimacy and interaction with an artwork”.
The artist –also behind The Meditative Relaxation Cycle group exhibition at Arcadia Missa in 2014, and the ongoing The Mycological Twistat Jupiter Woods –has gathered databases of information from mountain accidents to create an artificial nature in a video game environment.
Drawing on the Romantic notion of the mountain, as an artificial rendering of a natural entity, Bonneviot looks at the human as intruder into nature and its will to “colonize and dominate until nature is not nature anymore.”
The first to contribute to a series of talks held as part of Eloïse Bonneviot and Anne de Boer‘s ongoing The Mycological Twistproject, the Warsaw-based artist will present her research on several moments in history “where malnutrition was used as a method to suppress a population”, specifically tied to the ongoing assault on Syrian civilians through famine.
Exploring malnutrition as a weapon, Brzuzan’s dinner titled ‘Hunger is/isn’t an object’ draws on The Mycological Twist talk series’ exploration into “different aspects of mycelium, fungal growth and its ramified logics”. Its introduction draws parallels between a “beautifully silky [poisonous] mushroom” called the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) with a similar-looking and edible Mediterranean counterpart and contemporary issues of political geographies and migration.
Taking the themes of their original process-based project and expanding on them, Bonneviot and de Boer explore networks as support for sustainability and the idea that human networks are, in a sense, natural.
The workshop comes with a programme of events and case studies happening in-game, commencing Monday at 18:00, with ‘Exploration, Construction and Development, Tuesday through Thursday from 14:00 onwards, a contribution by Agatha Valkyrie Ice and Anna Mikkola on Thursday at 18:00, and a DJ / VJ set from 19:00 on Friday.
Inspired by Julia Kristeva’s 1980 essay “Powers of the Horrors: An essay on Abjection”, the show explores her notion of the abject and its “psychic origins and mechanisms of revulsion and disgust” emerging out of a confrontation with death, with violence, with vulnerability of decay.
Turf Projects opens up a massive exhibition exploring how artists network and market themselves with Business As Usual, running at the South London space from July 9 to July 30.
Looking at self-marketing, often thought to be a dirty practice in the art world and one at odds with the romantic vision of the “authentic” impoverished artist, Business As Usual invites one hundred of them to explore this “almost performatory element of their practices” in the second of a series of exhibitions traveling throughout the UK.
The independent UK art label and curatorial platform brings Bonneviot for their first digital exhibition, showing her 2014 interactive archive both online and physically at Rogue Project Space, where they are resident curators. The archive is described as one of ‘mountain accident data’, inviting players to step into a fantasy world “where the logics of labeling is undone and the rationality of information is reshuffled”.
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 andPatchfinder, while Joey Holder contributed three Jacuzzi shells from the artist’s HYDROZOAN exhibition at The Royal Standard in Liverpool.
A DIY fountain made from black bags leaking water and being buffeted by bamboo only to burst on to its audience. A film of an Afghan refugee journey to Greece being intercepted by metal sheets reflecting the film back out into reality. A six-person focus group on ‘independence’ exploring the individual voice and its mass mediation. These are some of the ways the night-long event interrogated the idea of “the way in which our relationship to assets, from property to services and natural resources, is changing in a climate of scarcity”. It’s the first in a series of live events, curated by Helen Kaplinsky and Maurice Carlin of the #temporarycustodians R&D project, looking to create a “share economy” space among its ‘islands’ of storage.
“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”. **
‘Round the back of Jupiter Woods there are mushrooms growing. Or at least there was one, smaller than a pinky nail and indistinguishable from the other rubble in the multi-shelf structures stacked high with chipboard, in the yard of the Bermondsey gallery where the ceiling’s falling in and there’s toxic waste nearby. Having seen the space in a week where extinction was on the brain, this productive generative artwork was a most welcome relief from all the end-is-nigh narratives with their “we’re all fucked” messages during Frieze week.
As part of a survey of all the good stuff on the periphery of October’s art-as-liquid-asset week (more on that here) a visit to The Mycological Twist permanent installation, opening along with Genuine Articles on October 2 and running indefinitely, meant a chat with artists and initiators of the project, Eloïse Bonneviot and Anne de Boer, who point out the tiny white thimble of a fungus, from the stacks of hay, soil and plastic-covered shelving surrounding us, explaining that the rest of the mushrooms could spring up overnight.
I don’t know what’s happened since but in light of energy-sucking artists critiquing energy-sucking enterprise through energy-sucking art, it’s nice to see an effort to transform all the toxins into something a little more constructive. Particularly when positioned beside what I can only describe as the most beautiful toilet I’ve ever seen; a maybe disused outhouse with yellow, green, red, blue and brown paint peeling from its inner walls and a perfectly round cistern beneath a TV rack screening ‘Respawn’ (2014). It’s a collection of video featuring contributions from 17 artists, Juliette Bonneviot, Sam Kenswil, Lars TCF Holdhus, Anna Mikkola, Emily Jones and Jaakko Pallasvuo among them.
Launched with a mushroom brunch and dinner and a ‘Shroom Music & Myco_educational_VJ-set’, where Bonnevoit and de Boer occupied the first floor roof top of Jupiter Woods to play their evolving playlist, The Mycological Twist is an experiment in the regenerative powers of the fleshy, spore-bearing bodies. That’s all while offsetting some of the the energy needed to keep the digital image going and the ‘Respawn’ video rolling. **