As 900 high-definition photographs of mushroom spore prints play successively at the frequency of human breathing, two types of sounds fill the sonic space. Natural elements, organic life: birds, chickens, livestock, bees, wind, water, lightning, frogs, cicadas, the crying of newborn babies. These sounds accompany the slideshow of 300 wild mushroom spore prints I collected in the mountains of Jizu Shan and photographed in my studio in Dali. The remaining 600 images of genetically-modified mushroom spore prints are paired with unnatural sounds: education, economics, science and technology, war, religion. These unnatural “voices” are metaphors for human greed, ugliness, ignorance. Together, the imagery and sounds represent the tenuous relationship between nature and human society.
The 900 mushroom spore prints were collected over a six-month period from April to October, 2021 as part of the Breathing project. Listening 2021 is an experimental visual companion to the 30-minute documentary film Field Notes (2021).