Begin research into devil tooth mushrooms: Hydnellum peckii bio-accumulates the heavy metal, caesium.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi, which grows in the upper organic horizons of forest soils, retains and cycles Caesium-137, a radioactive isotope of caesium. Caesium-137 can then be extracted from devil tooth mushrooms and used to create radiological dispersal device (RDD) aka dirty bomb - a combination of radioactive material and conventional explosives. Purpose of weapon - contaminate area around the dispersal agent/ conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against humans. Explosion creates mass panic and widespread terror.
I acquired Caesium and other RDD components from Internet sellers and eBay. The chemicals are injected into the sculptures and transferred to other sculptures via plastic umbilical cords. The sculptures are now infected and toxic. The museum fears the works will leak and omit some poisonous gas. Fear is also like a bomb; it explodes with the news of a natural disaster, a health scare, an attack, a rumour. Fear is a global environment.
It is interesting that as we pollute our environment, that pollution can then be accumulated and transformed via fungus and other plant life. Humans harvest the fungus and extract Caesium-137 to create weapons against humans. The metals and chemicals dispersed by the RDD are then absorbed back into plants and forest soils. Pollution undergoes a seemingly organic recycling process.
Text for New Contemporaries & Molten Capital artist residency on RDD sculptures 1 & 2
Text by Pablo Larios
Catalogue design by Sam De Groot
Curated by Lara Almarcegui and Martijn Hendriks
The Annotated Reader
A publication-as-exhibition and exhibition-as-publication conceived by Ryan Gander and Jonathan P. Watts
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