top of page

The Tentaculae

The Tentaculae is an interactive musical instrument that allows for an audience to generate live music in collaboration with mushrooms and artificial intelligence. This musical instrument was designed by an AI and allows for humans to pick up bio- sensors and allow their bodily functions (skin conductivity, heart rate, temperature) to control sounds. While humans bio-data effects sounds, similar bio-sensors (electrodermal needles) in mushrooms are also effecting sounds in the space. It has a central body with many long ‘tentacle’ arms, one of which leads to a tank of mushrooms growing.

The work explores listening to, and collaborating with non-human living partners. It encourages a deeper focus on respecting other organic forms through a unique shared creative practice. Playing the instrument is like stepping onto a new planet, one where humans, machines and mushrooms can communicate through music.

Expanding an AI community to one that also works with mushrooms is logical for several reasons. Most predominantly they each share the possibility to conceptualise sociality in new ways. For example, there is much creative stimulus to be found if one considers the combined approach of both neural network, and mycorrhizal network logics. Both of these non-human networks contain an inherit ‘transpecieism’ to them: AI’s are machine reflections of human thinking and history, and fungi act as social networks for all kinds of flora and fauna under forests floors. Importantly further, both encourage perspective shifts when considering social hierarchy, ways of learning, retaining and sharing knowledge.

The tentaculae has been shown at the Theatre Saint Gervais (CH) at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK) at the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Festival (UK) at the Lucy Hale Festival for music, technology and disability (UK) at the Intergalactic Space Jungle (UK) at the HUB (LS) at Magnet Theatre (SA) and was part of the It Could Be Better exhibition at Gallery Analix Forever (CH). The following video presents a short overview from the first iteration of the instrument, the instrument was subsequently updated after being nominated for a creative climate award in 2023, where it was then shown at events at the Taiwanese Embassy / in workshop with young children at the Queens Botanical Gardens / and as a launch interactive event for the Creative Climate Awards Fundraiser, NYC, 2023 

Please download the information packet for more information on the instrument, build and its various showings.

bottom of page