Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds project is an innovative and comprehensive program in the field of art-science education. It serves as a response to changes taking place in both our environment and the contemporary culture. The project was inspired by research on plant network strategies and the “Wood Wide Web”; it investigates the potential impact of the gained knowledge on the process of cultural paradigms change, increase of the ecological awareness, and development of the social ecosystems. The implementation of the program is based on exploration and experiment; on inter-environmental co-operation; on knowledge and experience sharing.
PROJECT BUILT ON CO-OPERATION
Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds is built on an inter-university cooperation between the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research, Faculty of Artistic Education and Curatorial Studies of the University of Arts (UAP) and the Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM) in Poznań, with the support ASN and other institutions – Geobotanical Station of Warsaw University at Białowieża Forest National Park; Botanical Garden of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań; Research Station of the Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM), Radojewo and lately – Kazimierz Nowak Primary School in Dąbrówka.
The team leading the project which is a response to changes in contemporary culture and inclusion in avant-garde and increasingly intensifying trends based on mutual relations between art, science and technology consists of:
Joanna Hoffmann-Dietrich, Prof UAP, Dr hab., University of Arts Poznań
Piotr Słomczewski, Assistant, Ph.D. candidate, University of Arts Poznań
Marlena Lembicz, Prof dr hab., Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Władysław Polcyn, Prof UAM, Dr hab., Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
Martyna Dominiak, Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
The intention of the Rhizosphere Project creators is to become part of avant-garde and increasingly developing trends based on mutual relations of art, science and technology. It constitutes a manifestation of higher education strategies aiming at raising the level of artistic education and mutual openness of the academic, research and creative environments, giving students access to interdisciplinary knowledge and experience. For us, public engagement and education are one of the most important challenges for the art & science community.
WOOD WIDE WEB
We are becoming more and more aware that the structure of our reality is based on dynamic networks in constant interactions: from neural networks to the World Wide Web, from the circulatory system to social, economic and cultural phenomena. Soil environment research reveals a horizontal network of signaling and redistribution of resources, the area in which an extremely extensive root zone occurs, and the local networks of microorganisms and mycorrhizal fungi participate in. Because of its integrity, the obligatory nature of plant communities and the impressive cooperation abilities, the underground world has been termed the Wood Wide Web.
In nature, there are no more important and less important, useful and harmful. Our Earth maintains a balance in which every Being plays its role and lives only through other beings. We are part of the network, one of its threads.Prof. Piotr Skubała, University of Silesia
IN THE INTERACTIVE NETWORKS
We live in the world where various networks combine with each other; build both physical & visual and non-physical, non-visual relations; work in an entanglement of beings, identities and times, between the Past, the Now and the Future. The image represents this world of network connections.
When we look at the starry sky at night, it is difficult for us to imagine the galaxies in the form of the spider webs. Nevertheless, we know that even the smallest unit of information, a single photon born in the nucleus of a distant star disturbs the peace of our rods and cones, mobilizing our visual perception. Looking at three-dimensional simulations of the structure of the universe, fractal systems of neural networks or visualizations of the internet connections network, we wonder if there aren’t actually more links than divisions in the micro- and macroworlds; in biological and technological structures of our existence. Every nanosecond there is a tremendous amount of interactions connecting all levels of our networked reality.
PLATFORM FOR CO-OPERATION
In accordance with the strategies of the small worlds, Rhizosphere is a platform for interdisciplinary co-operation. It includes individual artistic quests, joint activities, inter-regional workshops, and scientific experiments. The structure of the rhizosphere network is open. The implementation of the program is based on exploration and experiment; on inter-environmental co-operation; on knowledge and experience sharing. It comprises innovative educational, artistic & research practices that cover practical classes, workshops, lectures, seminars, discussions, fieldwork, laboratory research, public presentations in the form of symposia and exhibitions.
Today, various forms of mycorrhiza ensure the existence of 85% land plants around the world. This fact inspired creation of a project about the communication between plants and humans. MIKORYZATOR was initiated in 2014 by the former University of Arts in Poznań student Maria Subczyńska, who was fascinated by the discovery of information on the existence of connections of the mycorrhizal network in the context of the Wood Wide Web. In further co-operation with Piotr Słomczewski, the project has become the basis of various workshops and activities, stimulating cognitive and creative processes, as well as supporting interpersonal communication and teamwork.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT HERE
It is best to get inspiration from the Small Worlds’ Network in direct contact with it. Two fieldworks organized in 2018 in the research area of the Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Radojewo and in 2019 at the Geobotanical Station of the University of Warsaw in Białowieża Forest National Park presented a possibility to directly experience the variety of issues regarding the rhizosphere’s environment. Joint workshops allowed to see the diversity of phenomena that elude the layman’s eyes and stimulated reflection on the consequences of the green blidness, which is a reapidly progressing process among the urban society. The multi-sensory, emotional experience of the forest environment, enriched with scientific lectures and open discussions, allowed for a deeper insight into the complexity and scale of ecological problems and challenges.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FIELDWORKS HERE
The search for new forms of expression and dialogue with the “other”, which may be a plant organism, a fungi, bacteria or another human being, encourages to undertake research on various media and forms of creative expression. How can we break the thinking patterns, interact with nature and fight the growing environmental challenges of the current world? We are always eager to share our ideas and engage public in presentations and exhibitions. We are already inviting you to our next event at the Plant Biology Europe Congress 2021
RESEARCH, EDUCATION & EVENTS
Rhizosphere Project team researches the plant network strategies (Wood Wide Web) and the potential of the gained knowledge to impact a change in the cultural paradigms, ecological awareness and the development of social ecosystems. This research is being implemented in both scientific and artistic frame, mainly at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and University of Arts in Poznań, and other partnering institutions. In the course of the Rhizosphere Project multiple activities take place – workshops, symposia, debates and seminars, which become a platform of scientific and artistic exchange between various research and academic millieus.
RHIZOSPHERE & THE E-TWINNING EU PROGRAM
In 2020, partners of the Rhizosphere Project take up a new challenge, supporting interdisciplinary education project titled Wild Networking – WiFi of Plants and Fungi, that bridges plants network and human networks, in the frame of EU platform for Schools – eTwinning. The e-Twining school – Elementary School in Dąbrówka (PL) has been already cooperating with Rhizosphere Team, especially with prof. Marlena Lembicz from the Faculty of Biology of Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM) and Piotr Słomczewski from the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research at the University of Arts in Poznań (UAP).
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE eTWINNING PROJECT HERE
RHIZOSPHERE – PROJECT’S TIMELINE
Rhizosphere Project has been formaly established in 2017, with first official activities led at the end of the year. The below diagram presents a selection of various events – from scientific workshops & projects performed in laboratories and in the field to art-based interactive education events and art exhibitions – all made in the course of the project’s development. The network of the Rhizosphere projects and partners grows rapidly…
Mar 29-31, 2021
CAPTURE THE FUTURE(S): OUR BIO-TECH PLANET. The Routes to Roots Networks and Beyond exhibition at World Bio Markets – joint exhibition of two interdisciplinary ASSET (Art/ Science/ Society/ Education/ Technology = Innovation) projects: CHIC & Rhizosphere
from Sep 2020
Wild Networking – WIFI of Plants and Fungi – Rhizosphere as an education topic at EU eTwinnig program for schools – art & science teaching program prepared and led by Tomasz Ordza at Kazimierz Nowak Elementary School in Dąbrówska, in co-operation with University of Arts in Poznań (UAP) & Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) Rhizosphere lead team
Dec 17, 2019
Mushrooms will save the world! – Oxford Debate – prepared by the 2nd year students of Bioinformatics as part of the Diversity of plants and fungi classes at UAM
Apr 24-28, 2019
Fieldwork at Geobotanical Station of Warsaw University, Białowieża Forest National Park – workshop led by dr hab. Bogdan Jaroszewicz (director of the station)
Feb 25, 2019
Metaphor of the network – challenges for ecology and art. Does anthropocentrism harm the web? – open debate led by prof. Joanna Hoffmann & prof. Władysław Polcyn
Feb 5, 2019
Workshop at the Laboratory of Electron & Confocal Microscopy led by dr hab. Sławomir Samardakiewicz & dr hab. Zbigniew Adamski
Feb 1, 2019
Mikoryzator presented as “The best lesson EVER! – Biology” at Tour Salon 2019, Poznań International Fairs – education project carried by the Laboratory of Biotic Interactions, UAM & the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects & Research, UAP
Jan 11, 2019
Mikoryzator – interactive installation + workshop at Night of Biologists, Poznań – workshop conducted by Piotr Słomczewski & Maria Subczyńska; prepared by Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research, UAP, with additional exhibition of students’ works
Nov 19, 2018
Seminar at the Botanical Garden in Poznań: lecture “A small network of one of the worlds” by prof. dr hab. Marlena Lembicz; lecture “Root Networks” by dr Karol Węglarski & dr Jolanta Jańczyk Węglarska; presentation of Fortunata Obrąpalska’s archival drawings by mgr Małgorzata Kalinowska
Oct 12-13, 2018
Rhizosphere: Fungi and Bacteria in the Network of Art and Culture – intercollegiate scientific seminar organized by prof. Marta Smolińska at Faculty of Art Education and Curatorial Studies, UAP
Apr 25, 2018
Mikoryzator – interactive installation + workshop at Poznań Festival of Science and Art – workshop conducted by Piotr Słomczewski & Maria Subczyńska; prepared by Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research, UAP
Apr 23, 2018
Fieldwork at Research Station of the Faculty of Biology UAM, Radojewo prepared for UAP students by prof. Marlena Lembicz, prof. Władysława Polcyn, dr. Martyna Dominiak and students of the Faculty of Biology, UAM
Feb 12, 2018
Root networks – guest lecture at UAP by Prof. Marlena Lembicz & Martyna Dominiak
Jan 12, 2018
Mikoryzator – installation + workshop at Night of Biologists, Poznań – workshop conducted by Piotr Słomczewski & Maria Subczyńska; prepared by Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research, UAP
Dec 4, 2017
Grassroots Communities – Radical Botany lessons or the power of connections in small worlds networks – guest lecture at UAP by prof. Władysław Polcyn