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Mother and Spawn

Interactive sculpture

Arduino, neopixels, mycelium, moss, mushrooms, scoby, natural dyes

2019

Mother and Spawn is an interactive sculpture that explores the relationship among environmentalism, sustainability, and the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence. The work (consisting of a mother and her offspring) is constructed from biomaterials: mycelium, bacterial cultures, mushrooms, natural dyes, and moss. These strange, fungal organisms include ultrasonic sensors that trigger various LED patterns when participants move within a certain proximities. These light patterns are accompanied by a surreal soundscape of ever-changing natural and technological sounds (radio static, whale songs, etc.) Both resemble antique radio systems that communicate through bioluminescence. Both sculptures imagine a future in which technology and organic matter have reached a singularity, a complete and total integration of machine and living material. In defamiliarizing our expectations of technologies and biological processes, Mother and Spawn entertains a world in which digital systems and fungal colonization exist in harmony within the same intelligence network. Rather than paint the future of human-machine relationships in a negative light, Mother and Spawn encourages participants to consider how digital and biological systems might be imbricated in one another.

Exhibited at Ground Level Platform, Strange Media, Chicago, IL, November-December 2019.