Art installation in South River uses sound from growing fungi, plants
Exhibit, called the Mycorrhizal Rhythm Machine, is from artist Tosca Terán.
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 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