Mycocene, Installation Documentation, 2018

Mycocene is an art installation speculating on alternative views to the Anthropocene. The Mycocene hypothesizes an alternative framework where mycelium is the most prominent force of change on the planet's surface. Mycocene is a symbiotic structure that incorporates mycelium into reclaimed electronic waste. This waste often gets bundled together and shipped away (usually overseas, posing additional environmental threats) due to environmental toxicity. The mycelial network we grew is housed in a controlled acrylic habitat based off a rhizotron, which is used to study mushroom/plant growth. This allows viewers to see the internal workings of the piece. The mycelium is connected to custom electronic circuitry through a uniquely devised process: first, a conductive rod is wrapped with a copper coil that emits an electromagnetic field. The coil has a controlled faint current running through, that affects mycelium growth via a phenomenon known as Galvanotropism which is the ability to influence directional growth of fungal hyphae through electromagnetics. The mycelium wraps itself around the coil and establish a robust electrical connection through which we will read micro voltages. We are using amplification and noise reduction circuits to detect minute electrical perturbations in the network. These circuits are housed within the rhizotron. We established a reliable signal detection method to use micro-controllers recording and analyzing these signals computationally and channeling them to the ‘waste’ electronics. Reinvigorated with life and repurposed back into the earth (soil) from which their components are mined from, the electronics (in the form of old phone LCD screens, piezoelectric speakers, computer fans, etc.) behaves organically - unraveling memories from their past, but, most importantly, continuing their life symbiotically within the natural ecosystem. The rhizotron will be suspended from the ceiling of a gallery setting with the e-waste hanging throughout the space. The observer can walk through the space and witness the “breathing” of life from the symbiotic structure.

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a Collaboration between

Sam Bourgault

Emma Forgues

Matthew Halpenny

Matthew Salaciak

Owen Coolidge