NEWS: WE ARE HAPPY TO JOIN THE MISSION OF SPUN SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF UNDERGROUND NETWORKS – CHECK OUR EXPEDITION TO THE EAST CARPATHIAN REGION


Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds project is an innovative and comprehensive program that bridges art, science and education. It is inspired by scientific research on plant root zones (rhizosphere) forming networks with fungi and microorganisms, where the distribution of information and resources take place. These networks, based on diversity, symbiosis and interdependence of “small worlds”, can survive thousands of years creating optimal conditions for the maintenance and growth of all stakeholders. In the face of global and local ecological and societal crises, the growing knowledge about plants and their communication strategies inspires us to seek new solutions for a sustainable, more open and fair future as well as to redefine cultural paradigms that determine our behaviors and actions.

The program was born from the collaboration between the Studio for Transdisciplinary Projects and Research run by Joanna Hoffmann at the  University of Arts in Poznan (Faculty of Art Education and Curatorial Studies) and the Faculty of Biology at Adam Mickiewicz University UAM with the aim to open closed academic structures, to share knowledge, to expand activities and visions and to bring together various academic and non-academic milieus. With the engagement of the Art & Science Node and partner institutions, organizations and individuals,  Rhizosphere is rapidly expanding its interdisciplinary and international network. 


Read about our project in Academia, the magazine of the Polish Academy of Sciences,

SCIENCE IN ART NETWORKS by Joanna Hoffmann & Marlena Lembicz


LEAD TEAM

ARTS

Joanna Hoffmann, Prof. Dr hab., Chair of ASN, University of Arts Poznań
Piotr Słomczewski, Ph.D. candidate, University of Arts Poznań

SCIENCE

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


AIM

Rhizosphere: The Big Network of Small Worlds – picture from the fieldwork in Białowieża Forest National Park, 2019.Rhizosphere Project bridges art with 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 artists access to interdisciplinary knowledge and experience. Public engagement and education are one of the most important challenges for our art & science community. The core of the project is scientific research in the field of natural sciences, and artistic activities are the driving force behind the multidirectional development of the network creating “rhizomes” of cooperation between various scientific and artistic communities. They facilitate the transfer of scientific knowledge to various social groups, from children to adults.

Rhizosphere encourages actions that could open up areas of specialization, combine the experiences of various disciplines such as the arts, science, design, and engineering, and develop projects in which these disciplines could meet. This holistic approach not only stimulates cognitive processes but also fosters the development of entrepreneurial, creative, and critical thinking skills.


IN THE INTERACTIVE NETWORKS

"Rhizosphere" fieldwork in Białowieża, April 2019. Photo by Jadwiga SubczyńskaWe 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. This new model of reality requires the development of new communication strategies and structures that could break the tightly closed economic, social and educational systems inherited from previous eras. This seems particularly important in light of increasingly acute local and global crises.

The structure of the project is modeled on underground biological networks of roots, fungi and microorganisms which are referred to as a rhizosphere. It is the place where resources such as water, minerals and products of photosynthesis are exchanged and where warning signals of herbivores, bacteria and viruses are sent to prepare for the coming attack. These networks, based on symbiotic associations, diversity and interdependence, allow plants to grow, spread and survive even in very unfavorable conditions. The rhizosphere, as a model of a sustainable environment, with an operating system based on the „small worlds network”, has been inspiring our imagination for a better, more open and prosperous global future.

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PROJECT’S ELEMENTS

In accordance with the strategies of the small worlds, Rhizosphere is a platform for interdisciplinary cooperation. 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 cooperation; on knowledge and experience sharing. It comprises interdisciplinary workshops, lectures, seminars, discussions, fieldwork, laboratory research, and public presentations in the form of symposia and exhibitions.


FIELDWORKS

Rhizosphere fieldwork in Białowieża Forest National Park, April 2019. Photo by Jadwiga Subczyńska.It is best to get inspiration from the Small Worlds’ Network in direct contact with it. Fieldworks, organized in 2018 in the research area of the Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Radojewo, in 2019 at the Geobotanical Station of the University of Warsaw in Białowieża Forest National Park, and in  Morasko Meteorite Nature Reserve in 2021, presented a possibility to directly experience the variety of issues regarding the rhizosphere’s environment. Joint workshops allowed us to see the diversity of phenomena that elude the layman’s eyes and stimulated reflection on the consequences of green blindness, which is a rapidly progressing process in 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.


ART EXHIBITIONS

Algorithmic Photography – artwork by Alex May, to be presented at the "Capture the Future(s): OUR BIO-TECH PLANET" exhibition at World Bio Markets Congress.The search for new forms of expression and dialogue with the “other”, which may be a plant organism, 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 the public in presentations and exhibitions. Visit our last exhibition:  CAPTURE THE FUTURES: FUTURE OF PLANTS & HUMANS, Botanical Garden in Rome (23-10.Oct.2022)


RESEARCH, EDUCATION & EVENTS

Metaphor of the network – challenges for ecology and art. Does anthropocentrism harm the web? An open debate led by prof. Joanna Ho mann & prof. Władysław Polcyn on February 25, 2019.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 frames, mainly at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and the 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 milieus. Last year a series of open seminars: KOMUNIKATORIUM was introduced. 


EDUCATION: E-TWINNING EU PROGRAM

An important aspect of the Rhizosphere is its educational dimension connecting various social environments, ranging from children to adults. In 2020, partners of the Rhizosphere Project took up a new challenge, supporting an interdisciplinary education project titled Wild Networking – WiFi of Plants and Fungi, which 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).



RHIZOSPHERE – PROJECT’S TIMELINE

11.03.2024

Wetlands – history written in coal, Prof. Mariusz Lamentowicz
exhibition and meeting in the Communicatorium series, Gallery of Art & Science, Collegium Biologicum AM University,

30.10.2023

Smart city: fungi / Moraskointerdisciplinary open-air workshop in the Morasko Reserve,

09.06 – 23.08.2023

The Forest becomes a Choir – exhibition at the Municipal Gallery / Kommunale Galerie, Berlin, more

2023 / 2024

SPUN EXPEDITION – Mycorrhizal Wealth of Carpathians, more

24-30.10.2022

Our Bio-Tech Planet: The Future of Plants and Humans, Botanical Garden in Rome, more

25.09 – 10.10.2022

Rhizosphere: Organism – an exhibition accompanying the Conference on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Polish Mycological Society at the Faculty of Biology of the Adam Mickiewicz University more

May 23 – 10.06.2022

WHAT NEXT: Between Networks – Rhizomes and Flows  / FASCIATION OF PLANTS DAY, Collegium Biologicum Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) more

Jan. 14 – March 07, 2022
CALL IN  exhibition of works by Paulina Misiak, Gallery of the Club of Science 7 Art, Collegium Biologicum Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) 

Nov. 29, 2021
Individual – the evolutionary mountain of improbability. open lecture Prof. Marlena Lembicz, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) 

Nov. 29, 2021
Individual – the evolutionary mountain of improbability. open lecture Prof. Marlena Lembicz, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) 

Oct. 29, 2021
Morasko- an island in the Sea of  Anthropocene, interdisciplinary open-air workshop in the Morasko Reserve

June 27 – July 01, 2021
CAPTURE THE FUTURE(S): OUR BIO-TECH PLANET. The Routes to Roots Networks and Beyond exhibition at Plant Biology Europe 2021 – joint exhibition of two interdisciplinary ASSET (Art/ Science/ Society/ Education/ Technology = Innovation) projects: CHIC & Rhizosphere

May 20, 2021
NATURE networks, i.e. architecture with evolutionary SUCCESS. open lecture Prof. Marlena Lembicz, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) 

Feb. 10 & 11, 2021
Transmediale Festival of Digital Culture Berlin – Vorspiel. Online events: The Routes To Roots Networks And Beyond
Meetings with artists, presentations of artistic works, performances

from Nov 2020-April 2021
Interdisciplinary webinars with professors and students of the University of Art in Poznan, Academy of Music, Adam Mickiewicz University : Faculty of Biology and Faculty of Mathematics

Oct. 2020, 21
The underground life of trees – about the netted nature of plants and fungi, open lecture by Prof, Władysław Polcyn, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (UAM) 

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