Co-commissioned by Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 and Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art 2021, becoming fungi, becoming forest: performing the mycelial city culminated with a series of audience experiences (performances) in Coventry in early December 2021.

These performances were site specific: audiences walked slowly in four small groups of 25 people, passing through a series of sites and ‘scenes’ in central Coventry. Each audience group departed from a unique starting location and moved through the cycle of sites in a different sequence to the other groups. The starting locations/sites were secret, revealed to audience members the night before they embarked on their adventure.

Eventually, all four audience groups converged on a disused, multi-story car park where they walked up and up through the levels, drawn by the sound of polyphonic singing – human voices performing the shifting, branching and fusing liveliness of mycelial entanglement. Finally, near the top of the car park, the audience were surrounded by the singers and the singing, where the sound reached a peak and then gently deliquesced.

Multidisciplinary across forest/tree knowledges, mycology (in the body and in the world), polyphonic singing, poetry, performance, wild yeast foods and drink-making, with specialists and the public, this project was inspired by Merlin Sheldrake’s book Entangled Life: See Workshops for more information about the activities that informed our research for the performances.

All photos by Adele Mary Reed

hotel and tree
wide view of park at nighttime with performer next to tree
Performer/artist-collaborator Camilla Nelson
closeup of artist drawing and painting with mushroom ink
Performer/artist-collaborator Lisa Franklin (creator of fungi installation)
closeup of mushrooms and mycellium
woman with projection of mycellium against wall
woman looking up and arm gesturing