The exhibition Sporal 1 represents a new instalment in the research project that Mimosa Echard began in 2019 whilst a resident at the Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto), which centres on the idea that myxomycetes, unicellular organisms that are at the intersection of the animal, plant and fungi kingdoms, may be endowed with a form of memory. It is structured around the first video game by the artist, created in collaboration with developer Andréa Sardin and artist Aodhan Madden. The game invites visitors to explore the cavities of an organism in a perpetual state of transformation, inspired by the life cycle of the myxomycete. A character with an ambiguous identity makes their way through an ambiguous, dreamlike universe evolving with each encounter and in reaction to the mutating materials that surround them. With each enigma solved and each exchange of fluids, the character unlocks ‘sexual types’ like those released by myxomycetes, which can deploy up to 720 different kinds.
A monumental patchwork hangs at the heart of the exhibition, and hosts an audiovisual montage based from the video game. The materials that make up the work are meanwhile drawn from a multitude of sources, sites and gestures that are superimposed here, fusing organic and industrial materials sourced online or found in the artist’s studio. Mimosa Echard has proposed an experimental, psychedelic environment where phases of latency alternate with bursts of vitality. Behind the patchwork, the exhibition shifts into a dormant, intermediary state through a video inspired by #iamonlysleeping – a growing practice on the Twitch video streaming platform where people broadcast themselves whilst they are asleep and consent to their own surveillance.
Myxomycetes appear to me as robust, mysterious, and indifferent lifeforms, whose familiarity with both the past and the future allows them to reflect the decomposition of our social structures as well as the degradation of the environment; they also allow us to dream about, in a confused and slimy form, the forms taken on by technology.
The exhibition is the result of numerous collaborations, a way of working which is integral to Mimosa Echard’s artistic practice. The installation is accompanied by a sound environment featuring experimental pop music created by Aodhan Madden and Yvan Etienne. The soundtrack is composed of field recordings and various voices, including that of the singer Charli XCX. Mimosa Echard and her collaborators immerse us in a hybrid universe that can be explored further beyond the duration and the space of the exhibition: the video game Sporal will be freely available online from spring 2022 (www.sporal.net), while streams on Twitch will also offer the possibility of bringing online communities into the Palais de Tokyo.
Curator Daria de Beauvais
Assistant curator Lisa Colin