MycoMythologies: Patterning

My Body, a Coral Reef? @ Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany
27 January – 07 May 2023

MycoMythologies series expresses deep admiration for the wisdom, work and legacy of Lion’s Mane Hericium erinaceus, Octavia E. Butler, Oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Prototype draft for acquiring permit from World Networks Entanglement:

“Infrastructural node in the World Networks Entanglement provides an epigenetic environment for mushroom Hericium erinaceus. As an offering human healer patternist Hericium donated her blood, sweat and tears to braid contamination, dosing it slowly into a fungal environment. Not to shock, but nurture, negotiate and form xeno-patterns in the central pattern of the Entanglement Flow. Contamination always elludes control and so does the node in question, however there is a wish to include and collaborate. A wish was built in the node to produce cartographies of contamination collaboration with the integrated mapping device: collecting micrographs of contamination, charting maps and building ever evolving and transforming Atlas of Collaborative Contamination. All this to outline relations, to allow the stories of multiplicities to emerge, to develop caring methods of connecting and entangling, to finally be able to navigate patterns of intra- and interspecies complexities. ”

Once the draft was scribbled Hericium started to wonder how we will ever learn to be many and diverse. Who knows. For her it was time to start prototyping the machine for cartographies of fungi-human ecologies. Permit or no permit, she sensed in the Flow that the world had a need.

MycoMythologies:Patterning is an installation which captures growing fungal landscape which is contaminated by the human microbiom – bacteria, fungi and archea derived from the blood, sweat and tears of the artist – with a microscope and analyzed by computer vision, rendered on three screens where they are mapped, sonified and collected into a database. The installation questions if we can see ourselves as entangled rather than sovereign, reflecting on contamination as productive exchange between different life forms.

Re:Tune, curator Alice Smits, Zone2Source, Amsterdam, Netherlands [March – May, 2021]
Biotroja Center, Prague, Czech Republic [July, 2021]
Artifizielle Ökologien, Kasseler Kustverein (KKV), Kassel, Germany [July – October, 2022]
My Body, a Coral Reef? @ Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany [January 2023 – April]


Saša Spačal: MycoMythologies: Patterning, 2021
biotechnological installation

Saša Spačal
Programming, mapping: Matic Potočnik
Sound, software design: Pim Boreel
Microbiology, technical support: Mirjan Švagelj
Sincere thanks: Toby Kiers, Loreto Oyarte Galvez, Malin Klein
Photographs: Marthe Vos, Saša Spačal

Production and support: Zone2Source, Projekt Atol, Toby Kiers Laboratory at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Support: Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia and City of Ljubljana

Starts Prize Nomination 2021


Saša Spačal is a postmedia artist working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her work focuses primarily on the posthuman condition, where human beings exist and act as one of many elements in the ecosystem and not as sovereigns. Therefore abandoning the Cartesian system of classification and accepting the fact that the field of technology has expanded not only from hardware to software but also to wetware resulting in hybrid phenomena inscribed in mechanical, digital and organic logic.
Her work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), Transmediale Festival (DE), Athens Digital Arts Festival (GR), Perm Museum of Contemporary Art (RUS), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Chronos Art Center (CHN), Eyebeam (USA), Cynetart Festival (DE), National Art Museum of China (CHN), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (SI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art (CRO), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Kiblix Festival (SI), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje (SI), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (SRB), Lisboa Soa Festival (PT), Sonica Festival (SI). Her works received awards and nominations at Prix Ars Electronica, Ars Electronica Starts Prize, Japan Media Art Award, Prix Cube, New Technology Art Award and New Aesthetica Prize.

Saša Spačal