• Contact Zone
  • Transposition
  • porosity of bodies
  • Transmission
  • silence
  • nature
  • fungi


    Oct 27, 2022, 6-9pm

    Opening hours
    Oct 27-28-29, 2022
    Thu-Fri-Sat, 11am-6pm

    Display @Fraeym
    Mansteinstr. 16
    10783 Berlin


    Oct 29, 2022 – 11am-1pm
    Tour with Maëlle Gross
    Ongoing, entry anytime

    Oct 29, 2022 – 2-4pm
    Game Island (gaming session)
    By The Mycological Twist
    RSVP at bonjour@display-berlin.com

    Maëlle Gross Display
    Maëlle Gross, I Wanna Say a Word, Display, Berlin, 2022. Photo by Chroma

    Silent, not silent. Inaudible to our ears the endless extent of the underground world wide web is nevertheless constantly communicating. If we could hear it, would it resemble a chaotic hubbub or, on the contrary, to very elaborated and days long conversations using ultra-complex language systems? This is what researcher Andrew Adamatzky aims to demonstrate in his recent study[1]. By recording the oscillations of extracellular electrical spiking activity of the mycelium over a period of days, his study has provided a linguistic and information-complexity analysis of the fungal spiking activity. Of course, these findings may allow scientists, mycologists or forest ecologists to interpret this activity in order to restore and take care of nature. While not entirely free of anthropomorphisation bias, Adamatzky’s study proposes that “a modified conception of language of plants is considered to be a pathway towards the deobjectification of plants and the recognition of their subjectivity and inherent worth and dignity.[2]

    I WANNA SAY A WORD, might exclaim Pleurotus Pulmonaris, Flamulina Velupites or Panellus stipticus as subjects, with agency, in Maëlle Gross’ four-channel sound installation. The speakers answer each other, alternate, interfere, stay silent or diffuse the sounds meticulously conceived by the artist to translate this extracellular communication. After Adamatzky’s open source recording method and with the support of the microbiologists Saskia Bindschedler and Matteo Buffi and the artist and engineer Samuel Cardoso, Maëlle Gross tracks the fungi’s conversations, while they are simultaneously transferred, in real time, in the exhibition space. From the Berlin art space, we are propelled into a laboratory of the University of Neuchâtel and maybe also simultaneously in a vast forest. We move forward and wander through the sounds and the large-scale paintings. As we strain our ears not yet able to decipher anything familiar, the artist transposes our attention to the scale of these micro-organisms, while we slowly become part of the fabric they are weaving. 

    With her performative, sound, textual and video installations, Maëlle Gross offers us avenues of reflection, guided by science-fiction narratives mixing empirical or theoretical scientific research and fiction or even autofiction. In doing so, she leads us to deconstruct our culturally acquired modes of communication, with their systemic biases marked by heteronormativity, anthropocentrism and patriarchy. Opening up at Display, I WANNA SAY A WORD is the most recent iteration of the This is a Seed cycle of exhibitions and performances, which began in 2021. These three days of performative installation led by the fungi’s activity relay an interspecies communication that attempts to build cross-species bridges and, eventually, to step forward embracing a real ecological transition. (Marie DuPasquier)

    [1] Adamatzky Andrew, 2022, Language of fungi derived from their electrical spiking activity, R.Soc.Opensci. 9, 211926, https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.211926
    [2] Idem, p.2 

    Maëlle Gross was born in 1988 in Lausanne. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD) and a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from Goldsmiths University, London. Working primarily with video, performance and installation media, her practice blends fact and fiction. With a focus on social conditions, her work is primarily concerned with issues of identity, particularly through gender and language. She showed her piece Strike a pose at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt at the Rencontres Internationales in Berlin. She was nominated for the Prix Mobilière Art Genève 2020. In February 2020, Gross had her first institutional solo show (HotHeads) at the Kunsthaus Langenthal curated by Raffael Dörig. Recently, her work has been shown at the Venice Biennale (Balkan Project), Poliano amare (Baitball) and Mexico City (Festival Internacional de Fotografía de Mexico) among others. In 2021, she is a laureate of the Swiss Arts Awards.

    The exhibition “Darling You Should Feel Lucky” is kindly supported by The exhibition “I WANNA SAY A WORD”, part of the cycle “This is a Seed”, is kindly supported by: Ville de Lausanne, République et canton de Genève, Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain de Genève (FCAC), Fondation Emilie Gourd, Fondation Casino Barrière Montreux, Fondation Pro Helvetia and Espace Eeeeh! We could also count on the great support of the Laboratory of microbiology, University of Neuchâtel and Miocene. 

    Maëlle Gross Display

    Maëlle Gross, I Wanna Say a Word, Display, Berlin, 2022. Photo by Chroma