Close Encounter

Instructor: Jan Georg Glöckner

In this workshop participants together with the instructor/artist will build an installation “Close Encounter.”

The installation “Close Encounter” is an experiment-on-exhibit, in which the viewers can partake in and explore the human-fungus -interface. The installation consists of two segments. In one segment, a fungus is hosted in a central bioreactor. Connected to this are two other reactors, one to purify the liquid in which the fungus grows and another to metabolize the carbon dioxide, produced by the fungus, to oxygenate the fungus’ needs. This simple environmental control system refers to the more complex closed-life -support-system that is deployed in the International Space Station. Both are artificial environments, both organisms –, the humans on the ISS and the fungus in the bioreactor – have to adapt to these habitats. The second segment provides tools and video tutorials to aid in finding a way of communicating with the fungus, by experimenting with different stimuli, like temperature, medium, and so on.  Feedback times may vary and can take up to more than three months.

By rediscovering the close kinship we have with fungi of different kinds in our habitat, the installation encourages visitors to reflect on and rethink relations with other species and the way we look at humans and life cycles. What can we learn from fungi, and what can fungi learn from us? To discuss these questions and to experiment together, the artist is offering a workshop as part of the  installation that doubles as a field laboratory.

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