becoming fungi, becoming forest: performing the mycelial city
A 38-minute documentary of a two-hour audience experience (filmed during the final performance, 4 Dec/2021). For more information on the project, see: https://becomingfungibecomingforest.org.uk
Created in Coventry (UK) by sirenscrossing. Commissioned by Coventry City of Culture Trust and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, with support from MRC Centre for Medical Mycology at University of Exeter, British Mycological Society, Arboricultural Association, and Coventry Tree Wardens. This project was part of #GreenFutures, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Severn Trent Community Fund.
Imagine the city as a place of invisible connections, as part of the biosphere interlinking all living beings. Can you see that the city is also a forest? Probe soil and reveal mycorrhizal networks. Probe bodies and discover that ‘we’ are ecosystems spanning boundaries and transgressing categories. In 2021, through workshops and performances, “becoming fungi, becoming forest” revealed human entanglements in this shimmering ‘biome’ of interacting beings and systems (humans, fungi, trees, microbes, and other life), on scales from massive to microscopic. You are multiple.
Katye Coe (The Tank site), Jia-Yu Corti (New Union St shop), Camilla Nelson (Britannia Hotel treed square), Carolyn Deby, Lisa Franklin, Rosie Harris, Jamie McCarthy, Debra Salem, Mary Savva, Tom Simkins
COMPOSER: Jamie McCarthy
PROJECT DIRECTOR: Carolyn Deby / sirenscrossing
FUNGI INSTALLATION+PERFORMER: Lisa Franklin
SINGERS: Rosie Harris, Jamie McCarthy, Debra Salem, Mary Savva, Tom Simkins . . . with Katye Coe, Jia-Yu Corti, Lisa Franklin, and Camilla Nelson
PHOTOS: Adele Mary Reed
VIDEO CAMERA / EDIT: Trevor Price
SMART AUDIENCE MEMBERS (GUIDES):
Jana Aizube, Leah Gowing, Kathryn Hawkins, Gabrielle Stirland, Sarah Zujans
FRONT OF HOUSE: Kathryn Hawkins, Germaine Palfrey, Elodie Wilson, Ellie, Knights Steward personnel
PRODUCER: Susanna Roland PRODUCTION MANAGER: Chris Eustace
PRODUCER GREEN FUTURES: Amber Merrick-Potter (also costume / pavement painting)
VIDEO IN THE SITES:
The Tank: video by Carolyn Deby; still images by Derek Robinson and Carolyn Deby (Piles Coppice and other Coventry locations); performer Katye Coe. New Union Street shop: video projections edited by Carolyn Deby; video material generously provided by Dr Darren Thomson (MRC Centre for Medical Mycology, University of Exeter), Dr Sergio Moreno Velasquez (University of Manchester, now University of Wurzburg), Dr Jorge Amich (University of Wurzburg, now university of Instituto de Salud Carols III), Prof Nick Read, and Dr Patrick Hickey (NIPHT Ltd, Edinburgh).
Ryan Hughes (Artistic Director), Annabel Clarke (Marketing), Sevven Kucuk (General Manager), Georgia Kelly (fungi workshops)
SPECIAL THANKS TO: Coventry Tree Wardens Ann Wilson and Derek Robinson for their wisdom, passion, and deep tree knowledge; Stephen Dawkins for the generous gift of his time, making it possible for us to use The Tank; Amanda Roberts for her vision in commissioning this piece; Tony Guillan for introducing Carolyn to Amanda in the first place.