ALL THAT THE RAIN PROMISES
Sound installation, 2019
PLA, acrylic, speaker components, binaural audio
As an amateur mycologist I spend a lot time foraging for mushrooms. This requires deep observation and attentiveness to the landscape, and it has changed the way I interact with nature. Studying mushrooms is a great way to shift one’s focus, to slow down, pay attention, and be present. Many people aren’t aware that John Cage was also a renowned mycologist. I see a direct relationship between Cage’s ideas of “silence” and his interest in mushrooms. Both offer a formal opportunity to observe the often ignored but deeply meaningful happenings of the world around us.
Through the process of photogrammetry, I “scanned” polypore (conk) fungi found in the forests of Colorado, and created 3D models of their fruit bodies. These models are customized to fit speakers, and 3D printed. This series consists of two mushroom-inspired sound sculptures:
All That The Rain Promises plays a binaural field recording of an early morning rain in the central Adirondacks. The title takes its name from a mushroom identification guide (All That the Rain Promises and More by David Aurora), and references the feelings of excitement, anticipation and hope that a rainfall produces in mushroom hunters.
Leave It or Double It plays a recording of my voice reading the Latin names of 24 mushroom species over the sounds of sculptor Christopher Duffy learning to play his custom, hand blown glass Armonica. This piece is an homage to John Cage who once won $5 million Lire on the Italian game show Lascia o raddoppia by reciting, in alphabetical order, from memory, this list of white-spored agarics described in Studies of American Fungi by George Francis Atkinson (published in 1900).