Prashant Chavan (b. 1993 Mumbai, India) is an Architect/Artist, Städelschule (M.A.Arch.) based in Germany. His projects hold conversations with different forms of life and life-forming processes. His interest focuses on questions concerning the Aesthetics and Politics of Image, specifically those engaging with the Production of the Human Subject. His practice meditates with technologies such as AR, VR, Sound installation and Video games. He is also a member of the collective Commune6x3.
Transitions of Transmissions
Is it possible to imagine other narratives of living? Can we imagine other ways of living among different species? In nature there are no autonomous organisms, we are all existing in various interconnected ecosystems. We make up different networks of mutual connections, collaborations, mutations and space-time exchanges as companions and in between species. From those exchanges, each is, by its very nature as a body, continuously affecting and being affected by other bodies as Spinoza said.
Would it be possible then to stress and show up these interferences in sound as well as visuals? What is about listening to the Reishi mushrooms' bioelectrical signals and letting their sound affect the bio-electrical signals from the human brain? Some research showed that electrical impulses sent by mycological organisms could be similar to human language. The electrical signals bear a striking structural similarity to human speech. Maybe we can even share a conversation with them?
In this context, our project looks at a transition from ‘anthropocentrism’ to ‘biocentrism’. A kind of symbiosis where mushrooms need humans and humans need mushrooms to entail a common ground of communication. That’s what I identify as “Sound Laboratory“, a space where sound is produced as a constant conversation between physical & digital. It is in that liminal space where the distinction between human and non-human is blurred. The audible and visual network of humans and non-humans relations is merging into each other to form one shared body/entity/.
The Visual Environment as a Performative Act
Improvisation between individual performers (both human and non-human) presupposes the ability to transmit (and receive) energy. In the case of Transitions of Transmissions this energy transfer occurs quite naturally and literally, when the stimuli transmit between the individual performers: the tiny electronic changes in voltage inside the fungi are conducted to a point in which it ultimately converts into a digital signal of 0s and 1s. These deviations allow to expand the physical performance into the digital realm, in which the digital interface environment becomes an active and intrinsic part of the whole ensemble. By connecting the physical set-up with the digital environment, the first signals are converted into pulses of sound, light, gravity, wind and forces, colours and atmospheres that influence and determine the behaviours, logics and materiality of and within the digital environment. Rather than being desperately static or purely reactive to audio, it offers the opportunity for intuitive interpretation and irritation of the physical performance in real-time, in-situ. In this scenario, the performer is co-working with the digital doppelgänger. Being neatly integrated in the improvisation, playing an active role in modulating and mediating between the physical and digital apparatus. Ultimately, it is an attempt to connect human, non-human performers in a semi-physical semi-digital network which enables space for sensitive artistic improvisation in order to transmit energy.
To make it concrete it will use the technology of an EKG headset „Unicorn“and electrodes from mushrooms and plants. Both technologies will measure the electrical impulses of living creatures. The collected data will be transposed into sounds via a modular system and into a real time animation with the digital photogrammetry. The landscapes created are scenes of sensuous activity and will show that creatures are not inert objects but knowing subjects and can affect each other’s behaviour. Through this residency of Foreign Objekt I would like to expand on the ideas and further research upon developmental aspects of the project. I am also excited to meet other artists whose practice is deeply connected to sound and visuals.