The Secret Sounds of Spores, the sound of the almost invisible

Yann Seznec

The Secret Sounds of Spores is an installation created by Yann Seznec and mushrooms expert Patrick Hickey. As the title suggests, Seznec’s intention was to translate the movement of spores into sound. The phenomenon is largely confined to the undergrowth and – as such – is usually out of the reach of human perception. To address this idea the artist has created an elaborate installation in which mushrooms are isolated in glass containers. A magnifying glass focuses on the cap, which is irradiated by a laser beam. A camera, placed outside the container, films the scene and, using special software (written in Max / MSP and Jitter), several parameters are plotted, including the number of spores and the direction of their movement. These same parameters are transformed into input to drive (thanks to Arduino) musical instruments (a mini percussion section, some glasses etc.) created by Seznec using small solenoids. The viewer becomes aware, thanks to the sense of hearing, of the fall of the spores; and feels a childlike sense of wonder: we are like children who see a natural phenomenon for the first time.

Vito Campanelli