Fifteen students from University of Wisconsin-Stout’s School of Art and Design have collaborated to create an animated art installation for a Twin Cities festival this weekend.
The project, “Myccorhizae,” is an abstract sculpture based on a fungus by the same name. The fungus forms a symbiotic or pathogenic relationship on and between plant roots, improving water and nutrient absorption and helping trees communicate.
“Myccorhizae” will be part of the Northern Spark night festival, which will run from sunset on Saturday (June 10) to sunrise on Sunday. The festival, in neighborhoods along the Metro Transit’s Green Line, explores the effects of climate change through art projects.
Home page photo: “Myccorhizae,” shown here in a conceptual rendering by student Alex Greene of Eau Claire, will be part of the Northern Spark night festival June 10-11 in the Twin Cities. The sculpture was created by 15 UW-Stout students.
Northern Spark is produced by Northern Lights.mn, a Twin Cities arts organization that promotes art in public spaces.
The installation will feature parallel tentacles of vertical light. Visitors will be encouraged to engage physically with the modules. By pushing and pulling the projection surfaces, or engaging simple machines with lenses that manipulate the output of fixed lighting, visitors will become part of the project, according to Kimberly Long Loken, a UW-Stout assistant professor of design, who taught the class that created the project.
A projection-mapped animation will anchor the sculpture. Projection-mapping shapes a projected image to “fit” on any irregular geometry, in this case, the student-designed structure. The animation and modular structures will share patterns derived from tree species on site, said industrial design student Alex Greene of Eau Claire.
The students’ concept statement on the project said humans “share a symbiotic relationship with every other living plant and creature on Earth. This illuminated, polymorphic installation visually represents the way in which plants transmit chemical messages to one another; it charges the negative space between park trees, acting as an extrusion of the mycorrhizal fungal network in the soil below.”
The frames and fibers of the modules are constructed of up-cycled or recycled materials. Accent lighting is solar-powered.
The project was created in UW-Stout’s Transmedia Studio under the direction of Loken, a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Students from various design disciplines contributed to the project. Those disciplines included animation, fimmaking, game design, illustration, industrial design and sculpture.
“This advanced studio reunites students who collaborated in foundations courses but have now developed technical expertise and conceptual rigor in their respective fields,” Loken said.
Chippewa Valley students involved in the project were Greene and Samantha Kufahl, an entertainment design student also from Eau Claire.
A blog about the project can be found at https://transmediaworkshop.wordpress.com.
More information about “Myccorhizae,” is available from Loken by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.