Eucida Residency Report: Sandra and Gaspard Bébié-Valérian

During the residency in Strasbourg France  Sandra and Gaspard Bébié-Valérian wanted to explore the idea of remediation, specifically between humans and different species or organisms and particularly in mushrooms.

Sandra and Gaspard Bébié-Valérian

Their approach is based on a logic of reusing the technologies (detournement, hijack), interfacing lowtech with objects but also the activation of social, ecological and political issues.

Most of their works are interactive and question the possibility of a re-appropriation of technologies for a critical thinking of the world.  They seek to live the day-to-day beyond the preconceived, the premade by claiming autodetermination in a creative and re-creative elan.


In October 2018, the EUCIDA Rua Red residency followed a first step we had in Strasbourg (France) at Les Ensembles 2.2. During that residency, we knew we wanted to explore the idea of remediation, specifically between humans and different species or organisms. The main entity which came in our mind was the mushroom which seems currently involved in the frame of depollution plans, agronomics optimization, and other experiments. Exploring the fungi clade – according to the phylogenetic classification - might be really interesting to explore, because of its numerous branches and deployments, first, but also because of the researches recently made about the interconnections observed between the mycelium acting as networks between animals, plants and, globally, the biodiversity it is connected to. The hypothesis according to the fact that everything is connected and communicate in a way or an other revealed to us the complexity and richness of specific ecosystems.

In the Anthropocene era, what would that involve to rethink the dependencies and relationships between humanity and environment and how could we reconsider the connections which might increase or extend our bodies, our abilities and relationships to nature? We did then a lot of researches and we got a panorama of diverse design, scientific and artistic projects. Most of them have been done in furniture design, architecture or even textile design, usually in a production perspective. We wanted to emancipate from a rational logic and being able to remain political and poetic. We had to accept the possible ambivalence of the mushrooms, evolving both between the poison and the cure, between symbiosis and parasitism or between fear and fascination. That's the global creation we combined both scientific literature to sacred texts and mythologies and tried to think about potential imaginary communication systems.

From these considerations, our residency has been decomposed in two parts. One was mainly focused on experimentations in the countryside. We used a device designed to monitor the electrical activities of any plant or living organism. The set of electronic micro-signals we recorded were diverse from a place to another or from a species to a different one. Moreover, the kind of electrodes used had a strong impact on the quality of the records, that's how we tried to get something user-friendly enough and able to be used outside.

The explorations outside of the city made possible to experiment with different kind of electrodes and observe the variations of electronic activities. The second part of the residency has been more dedicated to code writing and developing automated processes. For instance, we programmed a mantra generator. Inspired by the Rig Vedas texts, sacred Hindu texts, our mantra generator was able to produce sentences and texts which main vocabularies and semantic structures remain consistent in regards of the original texts but were often strange, absurd or creepy.


At last, during the residency, we've been able to write down several modules/installations statements which are currently under development. Here is below their descriptions:


Several objects and installations are going to be conceived from kombucha, a symbiotic culture of acetic bacteria and yeasts, which makes it possible to produce a fermented drink which virtues are numerous. As for vinegar, it is a «mother» that develops. Once the growth conditions are met, this mother grows exponentially. In addition to the nutritional purpose of this crop, we are particularly interested in the possibility of transforming kombucha mothers, desiccating them and producing a form of skin. Thanks to the ersatz leather produced, we’ll create a shamanic drum on which would be played and struck pulsations from the electromagnetic activity of mycelia put in culture.


Mycelium and common fungi.

It aims to develop alternative networks of communication, which languages would express messages which meaning would remain foreign to us. This is allowed in particular by the analysis made using tools at the scientific, fictional or symbolic levels. This axis happens mainly in nature and could also be organized as a workshop. It requires to develop a specific methodology and involves to think on the question of data and interpretation.


Mushrooms Olfactive Synthesis.

In a non-natural place, in a place where everything is framed, what happens if you notice a deep and strong mushroom smell? Won’t you be instantaneously stroke by this deep and raw smell? Won’t you try to find out where it comes from? This project plans to disseminate the odors and fragrances in crowdy areas, urbanized and commercial places (shopping mall, school, garage, streets, etc.)


- The Physarum series. Gaming from predation to symbiosis. Making new choices for algo-hymns.

Experimenting Tibetan energy flow mapping. Will Physarum Polysephalum find the paths for healthier body and mind ? 

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