Rhizomes with a View

Houdinis of Bewilderland by Kevan Manwaring Part 2


Artist/writer collectives, grassroots endeavours which often emerge out of physical community (proximity; friendship) or communities of intent (shared interests and values), in their broad church, non-hegemonic diversity, draw either consciously or unconsciously upon organic structures found within nature. Rhizomatic, that is to say, root-based, membranous structures (first posited by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus)[i] offer an organic and enduring metaphor, and thus provide a sustainable, resilient blueprint in times of funding-resource drought and audience-famine. Taking one specific example from the natural world, mycelia are ‘invisible’ forest membranes thriving just below the surface of the mulch, a pale lattice in the dark loam. Some of the largest living organisms on the planet, mycelia can cover many square kilometres. In the words of Professor Alan Rayner[ii], mycologist Fellow of the Royal Society and founder of Bio*Art (an art-science think-tank based in Bath, Somerset, founded in the late 90s) they are ‘the fountains of the forest’, providing a resilient and nurturing network. Unlike top predators who rely upon a precarious food-chain and ecosystem for their survival, mycelia thrive because of their lack of hierarchy, diasporic platform, and minimal needs. They quietly go about their work – the business of forest growing – out of the limelight, under the radar, for and of themselves.

Previous: Welcome to the Smeuse-House

Next: Dymocking

[i] http://csmt.uchicago.edu/annotations/deleuzerhizome.htm [accessed 15.02.2016]

[ii] https://www.bestthinking.com/thinkers/science/biology_and_nature/ecology/alan-rayner [accessed 16.02.16]

This article was commissioned by Doggerland. An alternative version is available in print form in their latest issue, along with other thought-provoking contributions.  Check it out. Available from:  http://www.doggerland.info/doggershop

Keep in touch with Doggerland – an inspiring initiative by & for radical artists and writers.


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