January 23 - October 10, 2021
The Museum, Kitchener, Ontario
Installation for SONICA21
Tosca Terán (CA)
Forest UnderSound is an invitation to consider the sentience of fungi. Sentience is the ability to perceive one’s environment, and experience sensations such as pain and suffering, or pleasure and comfort. Many countries acknowledge animal sentience, and animal’s ability to experience pain, fear, distress, hunger, and thirst, in their laws, which are designed to protect animals from such suffering. In 1997, the European Union agreed to recognize animals as sentient beings under European law.
Animals and fungi share a common ancestor and branched away from plants at some point aproximately 1.1 billion years ago. It was only later that animals and fungi separated on the genealogical tree of life, making fungi more closely related to humans than plants.
For Forest UnderSound, mycelium from Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi/Lingzhi) and Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms), along with mycorrhizal fungi growing and connecting within the roots of various plants has been cultivated.
Both the plant roots and mycelium have electrodes connected to them that send biodata into purpose-built circuits, which detect micro-fluctuations in conductivity between 1,000-100,000 of a second. This biodata is then translated in realtime to control analog and digital synthesizers. Empirically, when fully connected and music is being generated, Mycelium consistently generates periodic patterns that are both enigmatic but also very musical. For reasons that I do not fully understand, Mycelium reacts to the proximity of some people more than others. Growing more frenetic or more harmonic or completely silent, when humans are present.
For the first iteration of Forest UnderSound fungi and plants will be allowed to grow over approximately 7 months, creating a real-time fungi forest soundscape. The soundscape will change over the seasons as the fungi and plants grow. During the 2021 Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall this soundscape will be recorded. Recordings take place on each of the 4 equinoxes.
With support from: The Ontario Arts Council • A Space Gallery, Toronto • The Museum, Kitchener Ontario