The press release does not reveal what the show will bring, but rather sounds like promotional material for a video game, with survival tips like “the environment is not kind,” and, “How you survive is up to you.” It echoes themes of online survival game called ‘Rust‘ by The Mycological — with contributions from Kulbokaite & Gaweda’s recently ended Agatha Valkyrie Ice project, as well as Mikkola — focused on how social and physical networks support each other.
The installation included a range of wall paint, sculpture, video and photography; an assortment of materials from snake venom paint, oyster mushrooms in shipping boxes to 3D printed polythene sculpture on washing machine and a Kirlian polaroid. Staging fabrications within conceptions of contemporary and ancient mysticism, the works brought together challenge the humanist experience and explore thresholds of self and other.
The works approach and seek to make poriferous, the limitations of ratio through the proposition of non-human subject positions — ‘natural’, technologically and digitally made, ancient and contemporary — produced in human, artistic practice.**
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.
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.
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”. **