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GlogauAir, open studios

The earth is loaded with many symbols: it is our planet first, the ground on which we grow our food, a raw material of construction, the surface on which we are anchored and on which we stand, theterritory on which we live. Each ecosystem is based on a different soil, a witness of the mother rock on which it stands and of the accumulation of organic material coming from the beings living in the ecosystem, plants, mushrooms, animals, bacteria.
In collaboration with scientists of the Rillig group, the Plant Ecology Laboratory of the Botanical Garden of Berlin, and Fanny Ryback, bio-acoustician of the Orsay faculty, France, we are trying to account for invisible exchanges which we have, as human beings, with the life in soils.
Living beings produce sounds to communicate, but also as indirect manifestations of their activities: it is then possible to perceive the presence of living beings in an environment by recording these acoustic activities. This project is fundamentally based on the encounter between artistic and scientific perspectives, practices and methods. Together we try to account for the invisible exchanges we have as a human being with the living world. A constant but sometimes
tiny interaction, of which it is very important today to rediscover the wealth. It also reminds us that all living beings consist of a complex arrangement of interacting microorganisms, beginning with our own body.
The first phase of the project is the recording of the activities of different soils. Samples of living soils differing in origin and composition from Rillig’s laboratory are recorded in an anechoic chamber device, allowing the recording of very low-intensity sounds. Each soil shelters a great diversity of living beings participating in its formation by physical rearrangements, decomposition of plant and animal debris, and finding food resources: roots of the plants that grow there, bacteria, protists, fungi, annelids, nematodes, arthropods. The diversity of soils and organisms is reflected in acoustic activities with particular physical properties: difference in frequency, intensity, rhythm ….
As these very tenuous sounds are difficult to hear in the human ear, it is necessary to go through amplifiers to listen to them. Terracotta has quickly established itself as the logical setting for these collections of sounds, and K. Bonneval has for a long time in mind ceramic «mouths» emerging from the ground to listen to the rustling of underground life. The original idea was inspired by boat hatchways, with evocative names “écoutilles”. Because soil is often seen by common sense as a dirty, inert, dark material, the mouths are made out of black sandstone, and their shape evokes mushroom hats emerging from the ground. Some pieces are in papier maché, done with a soil mixture

Project supported by DRAC Centre Val de Loire, Diagonale Paris-Saclay

Become-plant, hd movie, 7′
with Carolina Colada and Emmanuel Hubaut
music Jean-Michel Thiriet
The movie takes literally the Deleuzian formula: and if turning into a plant was a new hybrid ideal?
A new version of Adam and Eve in an anthropomorphic Eden are seeking for new nature. A magical element allows them to change state … Eat the soil and become-plant.
Based on Carole Belenus’ original recipe, the eatable soil might turn you into a new hybrid as well. A culinary proposal.

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