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  • Writer's picturesonyarademeyer

I AM mycorrhizal network

Collaborations are in themselves, incredibly interesting opportunities to explore and delve in ways that might otherwise not happen. In my most recent collaborative with Alisa Farr at the second Bodhi Khaya Artist Residency (South Africa) we attempted to include working with Mycelium. Having been fore-warned that Mycelium can be 'very unforgiving' we regardlessly approached the experience with heightened enthusiasm and passion, but with very little success. But then, I am not so sure whether the idea or concept of success can be coupled to Mycelium unless you're building furniture, buildings or aircraft with it. I would, in hindsight, rather use the word 'teaching': my first experience with Mycelium has taught me that Nature will not be coerced nor manipulated.

Mycelium has humbled me as an artist.

The second part to our collaboration titled "mycorrhizal network", was an installation which was created in a forest of trees on the sacred soil of Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat. Using raw jute twine we created a mycorrhizal network through an old weaving process that we physically wove above-ground. This network spoke to the hidden colonial networks that exist but are invisible within contemporary culture, particularly as it links to issues of Land. With three open circles that exposed actual mycorrhizal networks in the rich and dark soil of the land, Kagiso Kekana supported the performance with African song. Audience members participated in the performance by untangling jute ropes with spools (spool knitting) hanging around my neck. This, perhaps, was the most powerful moment of the performance piece as expressed to me afterwards.

Enjoy this compilation video of all residency artists made by Bron Trupp, one of the primary photographers alongside Josie Borain who both so generously and tirelessly contribute to both Bodhi Khaya Artist Residency and Tankwa Artscape Residency every year!

image credit for photographs: #TinaBester


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