Chaos fungorum: Nuit Blanche live performance & exhibit Sept 29 2018

Chaos fungorum
an Exhibition and a Special Nuit Blanche Event
 
 in 1747, Carl Linnaeus, known as the “father of taxonomy”, observed that the seeds of fungus moved in water like fish until “..by a law of nature thus far unheard of and surpassing all human understanding..,” they changed back to plant in their adult life.
He proceeded to include fungi in the new genus of “Chaos”. But why delimiting fungi within categories and boundaries when it is exactly their fluidity that makes them so interesting?
Chaos Fungorum draws on the particular position occupied by fungi and other hybrid organisms: neither plant nor animal, fungi extend across, and can entertain, communications and collaborations between animal, human and industrial realms.
Mixing different artistic practices and media, the artists featured in this exhibition seek to move beyond rigid comprehensions of the living by working with, rather than merely shaping, sculpting and manipulating plants, microorganisms and fungi. Letting the non-human speak is to move away from an anthropocentric approach to the world: it not only opens to new rewarding artistic practices but it also
fosters new ideas of sustainable coexistence, new unusual life collaborations and adaptations, and new forms of communications and languages.
 
The exhibition
 September 26 – October 7, 2018
Baba Yaga Collective 906 Queen Street West @Crawford, Toronto
 
Featuring
BIO.CHROME COLLECTIVE
Robyn Crouch • Mellissa Fisher • Shavon Madden
Tracy Maurice • Tosca Teran • Alexis Williams
 
Special Nuit Blanche Opening Reception
September 29
6:00 – 9:00 pm
 
 6:30pm: Artsci Salon introduction with Roberta Buiani and Stephen Morris
rethinking categories and the “non-human” in art and science
Followed by artist remarks.
Scientists from the University of Toronto will act as respondent.
 
9:30pm onward: Tosca Teran & Andrei Gravelle of Nanotopia
BIO-SONIFICATIONS: NON-HUMAN COLLABORATIONS Mycelium to MIDI •
Midnight Mushroom music live performance
 
This Special program is co-presented by The Baba Yaga Collective and ArtSci Salon. 
For more information contact artscisalon@gmail.com

 

The Artists

Robyn Crouch
The symbolic imagery that comes through Robyn’s work invites one’s gaze inward to the cellular realms. There, one discovers playful depictions of chemical processes; the unseen lattice upon which our macrocosmic world is constructed. Technological advancements create windows into this molecular realm, and human consciousness acts as the interface between the seen and the unseen worlds. In her functional ceramic work, the influence of Chinese and Japanese tea ceremony encourages contemplation and appreciation of a quiet moment. The viewer-participant can lose their train of thought while meandering through geometry and biota, connected by strands of double-helical DNA.
A flash of recognition, a momentary mirror.

Noble Hyphae, 2018
Textile, fibre-optic, print
Voices in the dark, members in the club of Information Incarnate. It’s a game of telephone through animate filaments.
Noble Hyphae: Nutrition highway. Mineral-and sugar-exchange Facilitators. Destroying to create anew. Producers of the Ground of Being. Soil-makers. Tree-eaters, Tree-feeders. The fruiting bodies, our first clue, Inviting us near with glamorous fingers. “Come closer,” they whisper. “Dig deeper. We are all connected,” They say. Listen closely. You can hear them; With your eyes; With your Heart. Dendritic Dimorphic Telo Asco Basidio Ana Conidium Chlamydo Odium Pycino. Fungi. Mold. Yeast. MUSHROOM

Shavon Madden is currently residing in Edinburgh pursuing her MFA. Shavon is a Canadian artist, specializing in sculptural, performance and installation based work exploring the social injustices inflicted on the environment and its creatures. Her work focuses on challenging social-environmental and political ethics, through the embodied experience and feelings of self. She graduated from the University of Toronto Specializing in Art and Art History, along with studies in Environmental Science. Shavon has had works shown at Shelly Peterson, the Burlington Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Mississauga, among many others.

Thirst 2.0
This work challenges the notion of how algae affects our water, which could easily go forgotten or unnoticed without my intervention. With this work, I have created algae by using fertilizer and tap water, which turns the water to its blue green state. This work questions the current state of the natural world, turning the idea of “green” on its head. Green, when it comes to green-blue algae blooms, are toxic plagues on our water systems that threaten our Great Lakes.

Mellissa Fisher is a British Bio Artist based in Margate; Mellissa’s practice combines art with microbiology; her interests lie in the interrelationships between illustration, sculpture and living organisms. Mellissa’s research is heavily based on the connections with nature and the self, posing questions to an audience regarding their relationship with their bodies as well as their link to nature. Mellissa’s practice has developed through creating bacterial sculptures of her own body, into an exploration of mycology by growing mushrooms on sculptures of the human form, researching the intelligent organism, physarum polycephalum, to represent the idea that our bodies are an ecosystem, using the body as a landscape for growing and hosting different organisms. Mellissa’s most recent research has been exploring the use of staining botanical cells by making her own natural stains with dye producing plants as well as exploring the internal structures of her body with MRI scans and Pillcam technologies.

Tracy Maurice is a multidisciplinary artist who works across platforms in art, photography and film. Her practice is a research-based, project to project approach that embraces analog techniques inspired by early cinema special effects, science, nature, and dance. Tracy often uses a black ground or dark field (in the case of microscopy) to create images that aim to redefine ‘darkness’ as something transcendent and connected to nature. She worked as the Creative Director for the band Arcade Fire, creating artwork, music videos and live experiental content for the albums Funeral and Neon Bible. Her background in music has lead to continue to frequently collaborate with musicians.
Her most recent project, Preservation is presented in four forms: an audiovisual live performance, a short film, a record, and an artists’ book. Preservation is a collaboration between artist/filmmaker Tracy Maurice and drummer/composer Tommy Crane that immerses the viewer in the mysteries of the natural world. In her experimental film and photography, Maurice creates a world of impressionistic vignettes using dance and microscopy to investigate themes of connection, transformation and reoccurring patterns found in nature. Drawing from Crane’s background in jazz and improvisational music,the original score mirrors the film, using analog synthesizers and sampling to create dynamic, ambient soundscapes that center around live drumming.

She will be installing a special sneak peek of her new book and music. The project will be released in its entirety in 2019.

Tosca Teran aka Nanotopia

Primordia, 2018
Ganoderma lingzhi, Pleurotus djamor, Hericium erinaceus, hemp, kenaf, organic wheat flour, potato starch, agar. I view my research as a collaborative effort with the non-Human entities I touch, caress, grow. Having ‘minds’ of their own, my current work explores sculpting forms with living mycelium. The sculptures grow over weeks into what I view as a visual representation of the life/death cycle.
Primordia suggest large scale insects and animals, perhaps in a state of death yet, the mycelium itself is alive and growing. With electrodes placed onto the Mycelium bodies, electrical impulses are picked-up and sent through biosonification modules that translate the bio-data to midi. I take these midi signals into analogue and digital synthesizers and collaborate musically with the mycelium. Empirically, when fully connected and music is being generated, Mycelium seems to consistently generate periodic patterns that are both enigmatic but also very musical to my ear. Mycelium also seems to be particularly sensitive to the presence of people. For reasons that I do not fully understand, the Mycelium react to the proximity of some people more than others.
Anthropomorphizing the Mycelium by creating the Primordia structures, will visitors be attracted or repulsed and in turn, how will the Mycelium respond to the humans viewing them?

Alexis Williams, Madam Applanatum, 2018
Ganoderma applanatum fruiting bodies and gold foil.

Alexis Williams is a Canadian research artist working with natural materials and electronics. She runs the Ayatana Artists’ Research Program that facilitates artists’ study of nature through science and other nonnormal points of view. Her art practice is informed by her study of road kill lepidoptery, sky gazing, rural exploration and most passionately: mycology.
Mycology is the study of mushrooms. Mycophilia is the love of them. Alexis has had the pleasure to have observed thousands of species of wild mushrooms around the world. She uses the act of exploring the forest as a pilgrimage to unveil truths about biology and our place within the ecology of the earth. As a mycological artist she aims to make visible glorious fungal organisms and to encourage appreciation of their integral connections between all living things. She is interested in developing new ways of delivering mycological knowledge and rethinking how science can be expressed through art. Her mycophiliac practice has led to the development of a large series of prints made with mushroom spores, guided forest walks that teach wild mushroom appreciation to artists and a smart phone app: The Mushroom Oracle that delivers motivational advice alongside biology lessons. She continues to write creative nonfiction that showcases sublime fungal forces.

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