Inspired by an unusual underground world of root plant and mushroom networks, an interactive art installation reflects on the uniqueness of natural forms. It has been continuously growing into various forms of interactions with its creators – artist Maria Subczyńska and her collaborator Piotr Słomczewski – and viewers or participants.
Mikoryzator is a project – art installation on work about the communication of plants with humans – created 2014 by former University of Arts in Poznań student Maria Subczyńska. Artist was fascinated by the discovery of information on the existence of connections of the mycorrhizal network in the context of the Wood Wide Web. From 2017 its new developments were expanded into a workshop and art education tool in co-operation with Piotr Słomczewski and Mikoryzator joined the Rhizosphere Project. It has become the basis of various education activities, stimulating cognitive and creative processes, as well as supporting interpersonal communication and teamwork.
ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZA AS AN ARTISTIC INSPITATION
Four hundred million years ago, arbuscular mycorrhiza allowed plants to leave the aquatic environment and colonize land, and today it ensures the existence of 85% of land plants on all the earth. Its name comes from tree-branched hyphae called arbuscules, which are formed by the mycelium when penetrating into the root cells. It is difficult to imagine the potential of the influence that fungi have on the general condition of plants as well as their resistance to adverse environmental changes: mycorrhizal symbiosis supplies the fungi with organic compounds. In return, arbuscules provide plants with minerals and microelements.
The hormones produced by fungi regulate plants’ development, and antibiotic substances secreted into the soil protect them from pathogens, while plants’ phytohormones stimulate the growth of hyphae in fungi. On the other hand, extracellular mycelium creates connections between the roots of nearby plants of various species. The resulting structures, called mycorrhizal networks, enable the transfer of nutrients and chemical information between plants, and also bind soil particles into aggregates, stimulating soil-forming processes.
MIKORYZATOR – WHERE THE STORY BEGAN
Conversations with UAM lecturers and visits to laboratories allowed the student of undergraduate studies at the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research – Maria Subczyńska – to develop an interest in mushrooms and mycorrhizal networks. Her dream was to use mycorrhizal networks to make a bond between human Internet and the “internet” of plants, so that humans could participate or even become one of the links in the extensive communication plants & fungi networks. Although today this idea seems to be an artistic utopia, it stimulates the imagination and cognitive processes, encouraging us to explore the limits of our perception and communication abilities. The artist used the strategy of the growing mycelium in her own creative processes. She started drawing an enormous mind map on the walls of a room she lived in:
Every day I draw a fragment of my thoughts. By creating individual elements, I am interacting with the concept’s constant growth.Maria Subczyńska
MYSTERIOUS WORLD OF FUNGI AND PLANTS
Immersing the artistic strategies into the mysterious world of plants and fungi has opened the way to rebuild the links between man and his natural environment, that were broken in the course of the civilization processes. In her multimedia and multi-sensual installations, video works and performances, the artist takes on the role of a shaman. It provokes unexpected tensions, creates symbolic spaces and rituals, drawing the viewer into a situation of non-verbal, intuitive dialogue with the mysterious world of nature, in which each of us has our own individual role to play.
MIKORYZATOR – DEVELOPMENT
Mikoryzator has evolved into an intermedia project including drawings, graphics, art book, videos, and performance. The axis of the project was the constantly growing installation – a network that acquired a specific autonomy. Mikoryzator network, developed in co-operation with Piotr Słomczewski, has become the basis of workshops and activities, stimulating cognitive and creative processes as well as supporting interpersonal communication and teamwork. Mikoryzator has been continuously growing into various forms of interactions with its creators and viewers or participants:
– Jan 11, 2017: Mikoryzator installation + workshop at Night of Biologists, Poznań
– Apr 25, 2018: Mikoryzator installation at Poznań Festival of Science and Art, Poznań
– Jan 11, 2019: Mikoryzator interactive & workshop installation at Night of Biologists, Poznań
– Feb 01, 2019: Mikoryzator as The best lesson EVER! – Biology at Tour Salon, Poznań International Fair
MIKORYZATOR AS “THE BEST LESSON EVER! BIOLOGY” AT TOUR SALON, 2019 – PHOTO DOCUMENTATION
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THE RHIZOSPHERE PROJECT