This episode of the Fermynwoods Contemporary Art Podcast with artist Tosca Terán draws from fungal mycelial communication research to create a soundscape which the artist herself describes as ‘perhaps a bit ominous with a dash of science fiction’.
Working with the bio-electrical activity of living mycelium, in Forest UnderSound = Ways of Knowing, Tosca reveals the ethereal fungi frequencies of the oyster mushroom, pleurotus ostreatus.
Threading control voltages throughout what Tosca affectionately refers to as a ‘Myco-Synth’ the mushroom becomes a conduit for pulsating waves, coursing through intricate patch cables to construct a mesmerizing drone.
Thanks to Spencer Graham for providing the field recording from Fermyn Woods that was interpolated into this work.
A short transcript of the episode is available here, including some additional notes by the artist.
The accompanying visual is a video response to the episode, by artist Sapphire Goss.
Tosca Terán is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is a confluence of art, ecology and craft. From the Midnight Mushroom Music archives and the Mycelium Martian Dome to fungi-controlled VR experiences, Tosca constructs installations collaborating with nonhuman life, asking people to consider nonhuman sentience and how humans move within and impact the shared environment. Working with purpose-built circuits which detect micro-fluctuations in conductivity, Tosca places electrodes into fungal mycelium, translating the biodata in realtime to control synthesisers, generating enigmatic musical patterns of sound.
Tosca’s shorter piece The Undersound featured in Counterpoint – a playlist of sound works created by artists and musicians engaging with and amplifying natural forces and elements, accompanying our Ways of knowing exhibition at Brixworth Country Park.
For Xylophobia our guest curators for the Fermynwoods Podcast are Marie-Chantal Hamrock and Astrid Björklund. Marie and Astrid have previously collaborated as SUBTERRA for Aerial Community Radio in Aberdeen, which “navigates speculative narratives of the chthonic (of relating to or inhabiting the underworld) through text, poetry, soundscapes and music.” The two bring their own flavour to a new series of 10 Xylophobia-themed Podcast episodes.
Sapphire Goss is a multimedia artist who uses obsolete technologies to explore experimental materiality and hybrid collaborative forms to make work that grows, decays and lives beyond the screen. Sapphire responds to each Xylophobia podcast episode with a new video.