Spores in Santa Cruz

Category : Installation, Spores

Secret Sounds of Spores

Last week, after finishing my Smithsonian fellowship in Washington, I travelled out to California to install my Secret Sounds of Spores installation at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

Secret Sounds of Spores

If you’re not familiar with the piece, it is a musical installation that uses a mushroom to control music. A green laser shining at the mushroom reveals falling spores, and a camera sees those spores and uses them to send pulses to small electromechanical instruments that play in response.

Secret Sounds of Spores

I built a smaller and slightly improved version of the installation for the show, “Wild Mushrooms & Functional Fungi”, which includes a number of other wonderful mushroom-based pieces. My new version uses cherry wood from the farm in Maryland, which I think looks lovely.

Secret Sounds of Spores

The opening was fantastic – I had tons of brilliant conversations and fascinating feedback. Many thanks to the museum staff for making it all happen. The show will run until the end of March 2016, so be sure to go and have a look if you’re in the area.

Secret Sounds of Spores

Special thanks to Felipe Goncalves for laser cutting the connecting parts to the installation, and to Danny Haeg for hosting me in California. This new version of the installation was made possible thanks to a Creative Scotland artist bursary.

Back in Amsterdam

Category : Installation, Spores

Phew, lots of traveling these days…I’m now back in lovely Amsterdam, where it finally feels like summer. I’m here for the very exciting ‘second opening’ for the Paddestoelen Paradijs show, which includes my Secret Sounds of Spores installation among many other amazing fungi-based artworks.
The event will feature a concert by the DNK Ensemble, who will be playing music along with my installation, which is very exciting indeed! I’m really looking forward to hearing what Koen Nutters has arranged. I’ll also be giving a short talk about the work, and it sounds like there will be loads of other amazing things going on.
So if you happen to be in Amsterdam, do come along!

Ignite presentation in Amsterdam

A few weeks ago I was invited to speak at Mediamatic in Amsterdam as part of their Ignite series of presentations. It was Ignite #15 and I had a great time! Many thanks to everyone involved for having me over. Many thanks as well to my friend and sound artist Nanny Roed Lauridsen, who recorded my talk and posted it on her website (a site which is, incidentally, full of great recordings like the sound of ice skaters on a canal in Amsterdam recorded from underneath using a hydrophone).
Here’s the mp3, it’s a very quick 5 minute presentation where I go through the whole story behind the Secret Sounds of Spores and talk about why I did it!
Yann Seznec – Spores, Ignite
The installation is looking great, too, here are a few more photos for you…
Mushroom and laser closeupGallery installationBlack walnut spore note closeup

Secret Sounds of Spores in Amsterdam

Category : Installation, Spores

A few weeks ago, at the end of a batch of One Pig shows in Germany, I went over to Amsterdam to install my Secret Sounds of Spores piece at Mediamatic. You can see the project page on the Mediamatic site here.

It will be in the gallery until around the end of April or so.

What a great place! It was super fun and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. My work is part of the Paddestoelen Paradijs show, which features a number of fungus-themed artworks in their amazing gallery. One huge advantage of this is that there are plenty of mushrooms to use in my piece – so every few days a new one is put in the jar to drop some spores through the laser.

Here are a few pictures of the setting up and final product:
I’ll be heading back next week to present the project at Mediamatic as part of their Ignite series. Please come by if you are able – you can RSVP at that link, it starts at 8:30pm.

Secret Sounds of Spores Installation

This blog has seen many many posts about my Secret Sounds of Spores project over the past nine months or so. It’s been an incredible journey and I certainly hope we’ll be able to take it even further in the near future.

In the mean time, here is one more video showing the installation as it happened at Inspace in Edinburgh in January. I thought it worked really well in the gallery space, and we got extremely positive feedback. We’d love to show it at other galleries or shows, so please get in touch if you’ve been looking for a fungi-based sound installation.

Spores at Maker Faire UK

Category : Amazing Rolo, Spores

Tomorrow, bright and early, I will be heading off to Newcastle to show the Secret Sounds of Spores at the Maker Faire UK! apologies for the extremely late announcement…

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be bringing this somewhat hilarious looking box of arduinos, black walnut solenoid glockenspiels, lasers, wires, and mushrooms on the train with me at 7am. I imagine I may spy some others carrying similarly bizarre boxes down to the Maker Faire too…

This will be my third Faire, after an amazing adventure in San Francisco in 2009 and a wonderful trip to Cardiff for a Micro Maker Faire.

Speaking of Cardiff, I’ll be heading to Wales on Monday for a bunch of fun things, which I’ll be explaining more in the coming days. Fore now, a heads up – if you live in North Wales be sure to check back for more info!

In any case, if you’re in northeast England be sure to drop by Newcastle, it’s bound to be fantastic. Check the website for details – I’ll be in the Centre For Life near the train station, please drop by and say hello if you’re around! I’m afraid I won’t be there on Sunday, apologies in advance!

Spores Spectacular

Category : Music, Spores

Here’s a video from the “Secret Sounds of Spores Spectacular!” event that took place at Inspace here in Edinburgh last month. It was a fantastic night, with The Dyad playing some crazy free jazz improvisations in response to the mushroom’s spore-dropping-music.

I’ve included some explanation in the video, but if you’d like more information you can always visit the Secret Sounds of Spores page, which has loads of making-of videos and other information.

Thanks again to everyone who came and made it such a brilliant event, and of course a special thanks to The Dyad and to New Media Scotland for making it happen.

A Spectacular Success

Category : Installation, Spores

Wow. In my wildest dreams I never imagined that the Secret Sounds of Spores Spectacular would be such a success. I’d like to thank everyone who came down, and apologize to anyone who got turned away. It was a brilliant night, and I was so pleased by all of the feedback and amazing discussions I had throughout the night. Special thanks go to musical guests The Dyad, whose swirling improvisational electrojazz combined with the mushroom-spore-triggered instruments with astounding results.

It will take me a while to go through all of the video and audio for the night, but many thanks to all of those who have sent or posted things already. This includes Mark, whose photo is above and has posted a number of videos to YouTube, and Andy and Chris, who posted these photos to Flickr:

Thanks also to all the people who have come into Inspace over the past few days to see the installation. I’m afraid we have to take it all down today, but fear not! It will be back up in Glasgow in a few weeks at the Arches for the Sound Thought Festival, and then again for Maker Faire Newcastle. Much more documentation to come, but a big thanks once again to everyone who helped make last Friday such an overwhelming success.

Secret Sounds of Spores Spectacular!

Category : Installation, Spores

Spores Spectacular FlyerThis week I’m very excited to present the Secret Sounds of Spores at Inspace in Edinburgh. Please come along and see it for yourselves! I think it’s going to be totally gorgeous, I can’t wait to get it all finished up. Just in case you haven’t been following this project at all, you can learn all about it here. In a nutshell: lasers, mushrooms, and handmade electro-mechanical instruments. Sweet.

Patrick and I are busy installing everything in the gallery space today and tomorrow, and starting on Wednesday the show will be open to the public. The installation will be viewable between 4-8pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week only, so be sure to come on by!

As if that weren’t enough, we will be holding a very special event to celebrate the Secret Sounds of Spores, on Friday night at 8pm. There will be drinks and merriment, and musical guests The Dyad will join me to play music with a live mushroom or two. I am pretty sure that this will be the world’s very first human-fungi live musical collaboration. At least, the first one with a Fender Rhodes and a laser.

Inspace is part of the University of Edinburgh (and is the headquarters of New Media Scotland, who funding this project) and can be found at 1 Crichton Street, EH8 9AB. Hope to see you there!

Spores at the Botanics

Spores Falling
Thanks to everyone who came down to the Botanics last Sunday! Patrick and I had a drop-in session to show off our Secret Sounds of Spores installation, and we both felt that it went really well.
We got lots of great video and photos, which we will be going through in the coming days. In the mean time you can see this video (featuring a glimpse into a fascinating tangential conversation I had with Paul Stamets) that Patrick put together showing everything in action:

Secret Sounds of Spores, opening today!

I’m posting this from the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens, where I’m busy installing my latest installation, The Secret Sounds of Spores. Followers of this blog and my twitter feed will no doubt be aware of this project, as I can’t seem to stop talking about it! In a nutshell, I’m working with mycologist Patrick Hickey to make a musical installation using mushrooms.
I’ve made yet another video about it all, this time going into more detail about how the software works:

The installation is part of a whole show about mushrooms – From Another Kingdom: The Amazing World of Fungi. It is opening tonight at the John Hope Gateway of the Edinburgh Royal Botanic Gardens.

Maybe I will see you there! Don’t worry if you can’t make it, the installation will be up for a few weeks at least, and it’s free. Let me know if you happen to find any mushrooms that you want to stick in the installation, we’re going to need a lot of them in the coming weeks!

Spores at the Apple Store

Secret Sounds of SporesFor the past few weeks Patrick Hickey and I have been working more and more on our Secret Sounds of Spores project, which is coming together nicely. For those of you just joining us, we are building an installation for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh which will create music from falling mushroom spores. You can see these spores if you shine a laser underneath a live (or recently deceased) mushroom, and I’m building custom software that will analyze them and trigger a series of strange musical instruments that Patrick and I are building. My previous post explains the concept a bit more, and here’s a new video that shows some of the instruments in action:

Patrick and I will be giving a demonstration and explanation tomorrow night, the 15th of July, at the Apple Store in Glasgow. The event is free and begins at 6pm. We will be showing off a few of the instruments, I’ll be explaining how I’ve approached the software, and if this rain continues we shouldn’t have any trouble finding some mushrooms!

You can RSVP on the New Media Scotland Facebook Group or Eventbrite page.

Hope to see you there!

edit: as I’ve said in the comments, thanks to all who came by! I’ll post photos as soon as I get them from the Apple Store, in the mean time here is one of the mushrooms set up with the laser:Mushrooms + Laser