Sudbury·Audio

Art installation in South River uses sound from growing fungi, plants

There's a new interactive sculpture on exhibit in South River, Ont., that's literally growing. Called the Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine, sounds are created by fungi, plants and sprouts — as they grow. It's on exhibit at the New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA).

Exhibit, called the Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine, is from artist Tosca Terán.

This sound art exhibit at the New Adventures in Sound Art in South River uses sounds from fungi, plants and sprouts created as they grow. The artist who created the Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine is Tosca Terán. (Supplied by Craig Erven, NAISA Outreach Team)
A new sound art exhibit called Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine features sounds made by mushrooms. The exhibit is being featured at New Adventures in Sound Art or NAISA in South River. We spoke with the artist behind the installation, Tosca Terán, to find out more... 7:15

There's a new interactive sculpture in South River, south of North Bay, Ont., that's literally growing, but it's the sound that's on exhibit.

The exhibit is called the Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine, and it's at the sound art gallery, New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA), where artists create, experiment and share different kinds of sounds.

Tosca Terán is the artist behind the installation, which has been described as mellow or ambient music. The sounds are created by fungi, plants and sprouts — as they grow.

"It looks kind of like a globe that has multi-tiered shelves, and it's about vertical gardening," she said.

Each shelf has various plants growing, like sprouts, herbs, vegetables, and fungi. Terán says there are also some carefully placed oyster mushrooms placed around the shelving.

Terán worked with bio sonification modules to get sounds from the plants. It's technology that turns bio-rhythms of natural objects into sound.

Electrodes are placed within a fungus or electro-pads placed on the leaf of a plant, those then detect micro-fluctuations in conductivity and translates that into notes.

"So you can directly send let's say, the energy of the fungus into a synthesizer and have essentially the plant or the fungus playing the synthesizer," Terán said.

The Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine from artist Tosca Terán is described as mellow or ambient music. The sounds are created by fungi, plants and sprouts — as they grow. (Supplied by Craig Erven, NAISA Outreach Team)

The idea for the sound art installation came after Terán had been working with slime mold and growing gourmet mushrooms.

"I started wondering if I could hear the sounds of fungus or plants, and how we might be able to translate those into a spectrum or some way to where we could hear these things taking place."

"This is as close, currently, as I could get in translating their activity," Terán said.

"I think of it as bringing people some awareness toward communications in a forest or things just to ponder or think about, like what's going on that we don't see — making the invisible visible."

NAISA on Ottawa Avenue in South River is open Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

With files from Markus Schwabe

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