The project consists of two parts – a short film and an installation to sit on – realized in collaboration with the Mushroom Research Center Austria (MRCA) and My Pilz. "Expanding Kin" intertwines fiction and fact investigating strategies of non-human life to find creative and collective solutions against climate change and the Capitalocene. Looking at queerness, biology, and ecology the project questions the idea of "the self" as an enclosed entity and proposes strategies of mutualism and sympoietic world-building.
The short film invites the viewer into a speculative ecosystem with mycelium as the main protagonist. Based on scientific research on symbiosis and mycelium the film tells of a fictional, collective lifeform. This lifeform functions as an overarching network connecting all living beings of the film's world, similar to mycelium in our reality. Made with techniques of classical animation, film, and 3D animation the video work will have a length of around 15min.
The installation - organized as seating islands - will be an extension of the film’s world and invites the audience to get a closer look at mycelium, fungi, and mushrooms in the physical space. The seating islands consist of different artificial and organic (dead and living) materials such as mycelium, fungi, lichens, dead mycelium blocks, wood, moss, soil, textile, metal, and small biotopes. The seating islands will be organized as overlapping blobs –round shapes made out of different materials – partially infused with living mycelium to grow mushrooms on site. Some of the blobs are specifically designed for the viewer to sit on to become part of the world. The production of the installation requires further extensive material research and collaborations with external partners such as MyPilz and MRCA.
Possible ways to expand the project
I would like to collaborate with Microphotographer Wim van Egmond to combine the film's speculative landscape and organisms with imagery from living organisms of our ecosystem. The world of fungi and microbes fuel imagination which is why working with Wim van Egmond would be exciting for the development of semi-fictional worlds.
Personal introduction: Lena Kuzmich
Lena Kuzmich (they/no pronouns) is a non-binary and multidisciplinary artist from Vienna currently based in Amsterdam. Their work, a fluid remix of photographic and videographic fragments taken from pop and subcultures, sketches alternate visions of society. Imaginative landscapes, hybrid representations of bodies, and technology all become a portal beyond preconceived notions about the world and our identity in it.
Within their practice, they strive for trans-disciplinary approaches with research based on multi-disciplinary hopping. Eclectically, they collect contents from science, art, social theory, pop culture, subcultures, and historical myths to assemble collage-like worlds through the use of various editing software. Found footage is combined with own creations and photographs to assemble new contexts and stories. In their work, images from obscure internet forums meet those originally published in scientific databases to dissolve hierarchies. Once the narratives that shape our understanding of reality are laid bare, they become open for restructure.
The production time of the project is estimated at 7-9 months.
This calculation offers a first overview of the expenses for the production but is not final:
Production and editing of the film and design of the installation, project coordination by Lena Kuzmich: 4100€
3D Graphics by Cristian Anutoiu: 2500€
Sound Design by Leonard Prochazka: 1500€
Graphic Design: 1200€
Architect Paul Knopf: 1500€
Consulting and lab experimentations for the installation (MRCA): 1500€
Consulting and lab experimentations for the installation (My Pilz): 2300€
Material costs for the Installation: 5400€
Names and links to the websites of everyone involved in the project.
- Lena Kuzmich: https://lenakuzmich.world
- Mushroom Research Center Austria: http://mrca-science.org/index.php/de/
- My Pilz: https://mypilz.eu
- Cristian Anutoiu:https://cristian-anutoiu.com
- Leonard Prochazka:https://leonardprochazka.org
- Lennart Horst
- Paul Knopf
This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.