Bearer of Light / Feux follets

Milieux and CQAM’s Fall 2019 artist-in-residence discusses her research and practice in the Speculative Life BioLab throughout October and November.

By: Amélie Brindamour, artist-in-residence
Photos by: Amélie Brindamour and Théo Chauvirey

Amélie preparing some materials before inoculating them with liquid mycelium

During the residency at Milieux, awarded by The Conseil québécois des arts médiatiques (CQAM), I conducted research in the Biolab related to biomaterials. More specifically, taking a closer look at the diverse possibilities of creating sculptural elements inoculated with mycelium.

An early prototype, integrating NeoPixels into the mycelium sculpture.

The results will become part of a new body of work called Bearer of Light / Feux follets, and will be integrated into a prototype including an Arduino lighting electronic circuit. This project will focus on the phenomena of bioluminescence in fungi and other living creatures, and offer a reflection on alternative forms of communication that are not language-based.

Théo Chauvirey testing new liquid culture

In close collaboration with biodesigner Theo Chauvirey, various types of fungi—Reishi, Turkey Tail and Oyster mushroom—, growing environments, structural supports, and substrates were tested.  The fungi, in liquid mycelium form, reacted equally well to the experiments, but we discovered that environments that were roomy, such as empty 4L plastic bottles covered with plastic wrap, produced the best results, and burlaps sewed in tubular shapes were particularly promising for the artistic work in mind.

Amélie preparing the scaffolding for the mycelium

At the moment, we are testing the possibility of covering the electric wires and NeoPixel lights with waterproof plastic shrinking tubes, inserted inside the burlap, and then inoculated with mycelium. When the prototype will be ready, thirty more inoculated shapes will be created representing an enlarged version of numerous radial structures with fungus hypha connected to one another.

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