Mushroom Cloud – 9th - 22nd of June
The Sky Mountain chamber team are finishing clearing the outside of the building and plastering the inside for the screen which will take the image. They will also make the door. Meanwhile we start to think about the installation for the barn, which will be a mushroom cloud made from strung mushrooms with the video Way of the White Clouds projected up in a second floor area above the entrance.
I have drawn detailed plans of the pattern of the top and bottom, between which the nylon threads will be stretched. I realized when I was here last year that because this was an old milking parlor/cow barn it has a trench which runs down the entire length of the centre of the building which is now floored in wood. The floor can be removed, so you could in theory cut a hole in the middle, glaze it with acrylic and shine a light up through it, so lighting the work from one place underneath.
So working with Gabriele, the fixit employee of Arte Sella, and Emanuele’s brother in law, we start to set this up, and then after I have drawn out the bottom plan, Gabriele makes an identical pattern in welded steel for the top. Gabriele is a climber, so by means of ladders, scaffolding and a bit of ingenious rope work, Gabriele gets the top hanging in position. So we are now ready to start threading the 3000 pieces of mushroom – a variety of Cep bought commercially.
The plan is that the two women, Ivana and Annalisa, who come daily to clean and cook and who are also on a social scheme will help me with this. Ivana particularly is really looking forward to it. The stone guys would not be seen dead doing it. So we start in threading mushrooms. It soon becomes apparent however that this isn’t going to work. The air is very humid up here and the mushrooms soon become limp and slide down the threads. It is as I thought and I had warned Emanuele that we might have to dip them all in an acrylic sealer – he naturally was very against this, favoring ‘naturale’. So dip them all in sealer we did, but then of course the weather changed and it rained constantly so there was no sun to dry them. The solution was to light the woodburner in the farm house and dry them all overnight on racks. So it has been 12 days of stringing mushrooms and the work is almost complete; another day and we can take down the scaffolding. When we black out the interior and turn on the light the piece looks like a shower of gold – surprising even me.
Now, a day later it is finally complete