I am always learning new things about nature. Whilst making spore prints with mushrooms, I felt that they were similar to our fingerprints. Each spore print is unique, just like our fingerprints.
As I thought about this more, I discovered further similarities. Like that of tree rings and otoliths (the inner ear bones of fish). Each ring in a tree stump represents a year of that trees life; which is the same with rings in a otolith:
I wanted to create something that showed these similarities, and so framed examples. If I were to place this into a gallery setting I would provide information on what each example is. It would be like a museum/science exhibition, educational as well as visually pleasing. I want to reveal to others the connections that happen in my mind when I am learning about nature and how closely our lives are intwined.
Whilst on some nature outings, I wanted to experiment with some filming.
Nature is very relaxing and comforting for me, and it is very therapeutic. I wanted to try and convey this through the medium of film, so I took out a camera with HD video from the stores.
I didn’t have a strong plan in mind, but just wanted to get out and see what caught my eye, as I often do with my photography.
Upon walking through the forest, it was a very windy day and when I looked up I noticed how much the trees were swaying above.
I feel that trees to us are such strong, sturdy objects. but in fact, they are very fragile; as shown by the amount that were blown over recently during storm Arwen, and other storms alike. I see a connection with trees and fungi in that they too have many different sides: strong, delicate, deadly, beautiful.
I found a small clearing amongst the trees, and placed the camera upside down whilst it was recording like this:
I then walked away and left it to record the trees swaying above.
I later removed the existing sound of the wind, as I found it too stressful and intense. I decided to replace it with birdsong that I recorded within the forest and surrounding areas using a recording device. I removed the background noise, to enhance the calming effect or silence interspersed with soft birdsong. I wanted to create a relaxing moment, that I envision will be in place in a busy gallery environment. As nature is my peaceful escape, I wanted to convey this through my video to the audience
Phoebe Cummings – clay sculpture. Works with clay to make lifelike natural displays, flowers, leaves, branches, moss. Each sculpture is dismantled with water and the clay is re-used again in the next work. I love this idea of renewal and using natural products; it links to her themes and gives an encompassing natural sense to her practice.
Amanda Cobbett – textile artists. Creates intricate and realistic versions of natural paraphernalia using embroidery. She says that we need to pay attention to the little things as much as the big, as when they are gone how will we ever know that they were there?
Diemut Strebe, an artist who’s worked at MIT since 2010, recently in an MIT residency program, has a lot to say about the United States’ failure to contain or even meaningfully slow down the coronavirus pandemic.
But she decided to let a single-celled organism called Physarum polycephalum, better known as slime mold, do the talking. In a new project titled “HYDRA,” Strebe and scientist collaborators at the Santa Fe Institute and Australia’s Macquarie University plopped blobs of slime mold onto a map of the USA — one on each of the first ten counties to hit 1,000 cases of COVID-19 per day. They allowed the slime mold to grow, extending its unsettling tendrils outward, in a biological mirror of how the coronavirus spread across the country.
Compile a blank grid and place it on the backs of the female toilet doors. A private space/sanctuary, for women. Ask if they feel scared, anxious, concerned when out walking alone or in an unsafe area (elaborate and word better).
For each person that leaves a fingerprint, I will make a 3D printed mushroom to display around my portrait. Each mushrooms depicts another victim of the daily anxieties we face. The ink on their fingers is a network, our connection, our unseen bondage through our daily struggles. Relatable to the underground network of fungi, we are all connected with this feeling and that is what I want to show within my work.
Fingerprints are used in crime scenes. They are entirely personal, and yet unidentifiable on sight alone.
Create 3D printed or paper heads in order to grow mould or mushrooms on them. Depicting the slow decay of humans, yet at the same time, the beauty and renewal of life. Also try it with paper back books/printed photographs.
3D printed heads: coat them in Agar solution when it is nearly set to created an encompassing film of product to enable the growth of moulds. To keep it in a safe environment, encapsulate it in a glass dome:
Paper sculptures: create sculptures of heads using compressed paper balls, using a Dremel to carve out the facial features. Using the same techniques as used for growing mushrooms onto paper back books, attempt to see if it will work using the paper sculptures:
Paper back books/photographs:
Grow mushrooms onto paper back books using some kits I bought. Selecting books about murders of women, or known murderers of women such as Jack the Ripper. Using the heat press, print my female portraits onto thick paper/card and attempt the same method using these, to grow mushrooms onto the photographs.
Second, the mold spores must have a source of food to grow on. Mold can grow on a variety of household substances, from rotting fruit and vegetables to wooden panels or fabrics. Mold is sometimes found growing on inorganic substances like plastic or steel. When this happens, the mold is still feeding on an organic substance that is on its surface, such as the oil leftover from a person’s fingerprints, organic fibers or residue from an organic cleaning substance.
Light is not one of the key resources mold needs to grow. This is because, unlike plants, mold is not photosynthetic and doesn’t use light to generate energy. In fact, light from the sun can inhibit mold growth and even kill it, so many molds thrive and grow better in dark environments.
Mold is a fungus that exists both indoors and outdoors, but not all molds are toxic. Many are harmful, but only a few types of mold can cause potentially serious injury. Most simply cause symptoms similar to those of seasonal allergies. Some, however, can cause more serious illnesses, such as pulmonary edema, brain damage, and emphysema. In some case of prolonged exposure, death may result. The common indoor molds are Cladosporium, Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Alternaria.