The Secret Sounds of Spores

I’m working on a project right now with Patrick Hickey, founder of Nipht Technologies, which involves building an installation that will create music from mushrooms.

This all came about when Patrick showed me some videos he had made using closeup footage of a laser pointed underneath a protected mushroom – as you will see in the footage below, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I loved how shining a laser revealed a whole hidden world that to me had an intrinsically artistic and musical quality.

Anyway, we decided to collaborate and make an installation that would turn the patterns of those falling spores into music. We were awarded an Alt-W grant from New Media Scotland for the idea, and we have been working on it for the past few weeks. This video gives a bit of an introduction to what we are doing:

One interesting (and unexpected) outcome of tracking the spores to make music is that you end up with a really fascinating data set. This image represent the notes on a piano roll being triggered by three different mushroom spore video feeds – you can see the different patterns created by the different mushrooms.

It’s a big project, and it will take a few more blog posts to explain it all, so if you have any questions please let me know and I will address them as well as I can!