As part of the Social Microbes residencies, Francesca Willow joined us to work for 2 weeks, collaborating with Dr. Elze Hesse, and with Soul Farm as an extra host. So that more people can see Francesca’s work, a video of her full choreography and performance is now available, you can also read all the text used for the many signs embedded in the soil around the farm, and see some photos of her installation work below - this was all exhibited at Soul Farm in July 2023. The residencies have been funded via Elze Hesse's UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship.
Francesca was interested in the invisible networks of microbes and fungi beneath our feet, that help plants communicate and exchange nutrients. She visited Elze in the microbiology lab to see how microbial colonies grow, and turned this into a large number of painted tiles and other pieces exhibited around the Soul Farm site, together with information to encourage people to connect better with the world below them in the soil. She also made a solo choreographed dance exploring themes of entanglement. All this work was turned into an installation/performance that intertwined with two farm tours given by Soul Farm, as part of the Cornish Bank festival.
Dance isn’t a type of work that we’ve supported before through our residencies, partly because it’s a medium that we have no experience with ourselves and have felt a bit disconnected from. It’s been a valuable experience from our perspective to see a topic we’ve developed being interpreted through very different skills and ways of understanding the world. It also helps to reach new audiences who might not usually get involved with scientific topics, or feel connected to our projects. As always, diversity is joyful and strengthening.
Installation photos from around the farm
And here's a bonus pic of Francesca, Elze and Dave hiding from the rain in the polytunnel in between shows.