Appetite for Deconstruction: Art exhibition calls for reflection on human-nature relations

February 10, 2023

Recently, academics at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University recreated the visual part of the installation “Appetite for Deconstruction” for research purposes and further development of the project. The full installation is on display in the 1.5° Celsius exhibition running from 6 September 2022 to 25 February 2023 at the Michigan State University Museum.

“What we wanted to create, or the basis of this installation, is actually a question about how we can shift the relationship between humans and landscape within the context of the big question of how we can create new ecologies for the post-Anthropocene,” says Dr Claudia Westermann, Senior Associate Professor at XJTLU’s Department of Architecture.

“This is a visual representation of a dystopian world in which the mushrooms are reviving and surviving in the Anthropocene, after humans have left all these temporary objects, represented by the radios. The mushrooms are breaking through the radios, and life is emerging once again,” adds Vicente Esteban, Associate Professor at XJTLU’s Department of Industrial Design.

“The mushrooms could potentially eat plastics, and this was really how everything started.”

The background music of the video is produced by Eryk Salvaggio, an American artist-researcher who also created the audio of Appetite for Deconstruction. The music is created by translating the oyster mushrooms’ electrical pulses via an environmental feedback mechanism. Electrodes connected to the mushrooms and a modular synthesiser facilitate the composition of the “mushroom music”.

The collaborators of the project are Dr Claudia Westermann, Vicente Esteban, and PhD student Hao Liu from XJTLU, and Eryk Salvaggio.

By Yi Qian

Edited by Catherine Diamond and Patricia Pieterse

Video by Chenxu Zhao

February 10, 2023