Fungal mycelium & Schumann Resonance
Working with fungal biodata through bio-sonification.
Biodata Sonification is a process to translate complex real-time sensor data into musical notes and controls, exploring auditory sensory modality to provide insights into invisible phenomenon. The Bio-Sonification module is a purpose-built circuit able to detect micro fluctuations in conductivity that have a duration between 1000th and 100,000th of a second.
The Open Source Biodata-Sonification Modules were originally designed and created by Engineer, Sam Cusumano. Visit Sam’s biodata forum over at electricity for progress http://electricityforprogress.com Plus, he sells a bunch of super cool electronic kits, boards and more!
The Schumann resonances (SR) are a set of spectrum peaks in the extremely low frequency (ELF) portion of the Earth's electromagnetic field spectrum. Schumann resonances are global electromagnetic resonances, generated and excited by lightning discharges in the cavity formed by the Earth's surface and the ionosphere.
We see a connection between the Mycelium network, Human cortical columns and Schumann resonance. This is what we intend to bring into our VR experience and share with you.
Examples of neuronal circuitry- note similarity to the Ganoderma SEM image above.
How it began
During the 2020 New Nature Climate Science Exchange between Germany, Canada, Mexico & US- hosted by the Goethe Institue Montreal, curated by Samara Chadwick, invited artists were asked to present a proposal towards potential immersive experiences to the guest scientists and technologists.
Visualizations of human microbiota, and the shared environment through macro visualizations of microbial life on us, around us in the air, trees, fungi, pollen, pollutants. Forest communication via the mycelium network- fungal biodata.
In the mixed reality installation, Visitors entering the installation encounter large macro versions
(tactile interfaces) of various organisms present in global air streams (fungal spores), Phytoplankton, as well as real-time data readings of the local air quality and particulate matter either shown as numerical readings and/or Ai procedurals mapped onto the tactile interfaces.
The virtual environment is home to microbial and fungal organisms that dwell in the dirt, air, water within Canadian Boreal and Coastal Rainforests. How will Human visitors navigate in this world? Humans must pair with various microbial and mycelial life to survive, and evolve.
The non-Humans might pair with the Visitors, offering help, special abilities, or food; they might create illness and disease or not appear at all. Ultimately, it is up to the Humans and how they respond to and within this environment that determines how the non-humans react and respond.
Whether the non-Humans choose to pair for Symbiosis, which can lead to evolution or Dysbiosis, which can end in a COVID-19 scenario, or worse.
How it's going
Tosca Terán and The Mycelial Network
Symbiosis/\Dysbiosis is a fully immersive, mixed reality experience working with living mycelium biodata-sonification within a VR environment.
Point cloud data, scanned from Canadian coastal rainforests and Canadian Boreal Forests make-up the VR forest environment. Projection mapped floor and wall(s) around the VR space allow visitors within the installation, outside of the VR environment, to interact with the point cloud visuals by stepping on and touching the projection-mapped surfaces. These actions send data into the VR environment depicting Human impact within the forest environment.
Living mycelium from locally cultivated fungi reacts and responds to the installation's Human presence while creating the forest’s generative soundscape. Human EEG influences the VR experience, along with tactile interfaces that are wall and floor mounted. The tactile interfaces connect to the living mycelium through proximity sensors, triggering light and vibratory motors that have been grown within the hypae. Haptic controllers and haptic vest bring touch and real-time reactions from the mycelium and forest responding to Human presence. Humans feel the fungi’s connections within the virtual forest environment.
Boreal forests, or taiga, represent the largest terrestrial biome. Forests occupy approximately one-third of Earth's land area, account for over two-thirds of the leaf area of land plants and contain about 70% of carbon present in living things yet despite this significance, humankind continue to have an unbalanced, parasitic like relationship to this important biome.
Ultimately, it is up to the Humans and how they impact this delicate biome that determines how the non-humans react and respond. Whether the non-Humans choose to pair for Symbiosis, which can lead to evolution or Dysbiosis, which can end in a COVID-19 scenario, or worse.
The bio-sonification modules work with electrodes or touch plates/surface. The electrodes can be placed into soil, clipped to a plant, adhered (w/bio-medical pads) to your arm, etc.
NonHumans are the point of the entire work = How humans impact the shared environment (generally, unaware or don’t care). Humans are invasive species. Some more so than others. The initial project concept was to show (to an extent) impact through touch - micro biome and what is around us, our trace/impact (what we/humans leave behind). That, I thought would be amazing, to show how -we- are holobionts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holobiont). & Fungi are every where. Fungi influence the weather, their networks are vast and some are super ancient (example: Armillaria ostoyae)
The bio-sonification modules are a means/tool for us (Unity, Ableton, etc) to show fungi communications: reactions +/- to human presence within the vital Boreal forest biome.
Key elements here: Canadian Boreal forest & coastal rainforest.
Fungi communication within the forest, fungi recognizing human presence and responding to that- Symbiosis/\Dysbiosis. Point clouds appear to be a way to show biomes beautifully.
Creating a multi-sensory experience-Fungi creating the forest soundscape. Fungi triggering fx, motors that dispense scent, haptic motors for feeling (Bhaptics). The reactive floor showing the mycelial networks under foot. AR interactions within the physical installation can help with onboarding.
The concept here is how humans feel within the VR forest, seeing their microbiome, seeing/feeling/hearing/potentially smelling the fungi reacting to their presence. This also adds to the ‘each experience is different’ scenario. How the EEG data is used to influence visitor experience and how (if at all) does it influence the mycelium network. Proximity sensors trigger light (LEDs) and vibration motors grown within living mycelium. This acts as a form of touch. The fungi reacts and sends data back into the VR environment.
We are interpreting the Symbiosis (positive) and Dysbiosis (negative) here.