Mycelial: Street Parliament

Watch the video to learn more about our process, shot and edited by Jon Satrom.

Mycelial: Street Parliament is a multidisciplinary and interactive installation performance that examines interconnectedness, civic participation and social movements in a dizzying age of digital connection and sociopolitical division. Developed through a series of one-to-one cultural exchanges between American and Egyptian composers, programmers, dancers and new media artists, this artwork will culminate in live multimedia and participatory events in both Cairo and Chicago. Drawing on the experiences of community organization in public spaces, the team has implemented new and emerging technologies to dissect the collision and collusion of bodies occupying both digital and physical spaces. Ultimately, Mycelial: Street Parliament strives to be an immersive platform where embodied experience and kinesthetic empathy can spark deeper conversation around “otherness” and artistic practice as cultural diplomacy.

Featured new and emerging technologies include:

  • Sentiment analysis of pertinent social media feeds during key moments of social organization in the US and Egypt – developed in partnership with Dr. Zizi Papacharissi of the University of Illinois at Chicago and research fellows at the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts – propel sonic, choreographic and dramaturgical arcs;
  • Dancers duet with hacked motion-tracking cameras, programmed collaboratively by the American and Egyptian team, to compose scores in real time from emotional affect soundscapes created by American composer Ryan Ingebritsen and Egyptian composer Ahmed Saleh;
  • Live video processing visualizations react to live and recorded bodies to reinterpret presence, environment and civic participation in the digital age, coded collaboratively by American new media artist Hugh Sato and Egyptian engineers Badr AlKhamissi and Ziad Osama.
  • Large-scale, movable porous projection screens shift constantly to redefine the architecture of the space;
  • A custom mobile device application catalyzes the audiences – present and virtual – to contribute their own voices through remote inputs and gamified choreography, developed collaboratively by American technologist Tony Reimer from the Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies (LAIT) & National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Egyptian user-interface designer Yasser Nazmy.

Meet the collaborative Egyptian/American Team!

This work has been developed in partnership with Ezzat Ezzat Contemporary Dance Studio (Giza) and Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble through the support and partnerships of New England Foundation for the Arts’ Regional Dance Development Initiative in Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Laboratory for Audience Interactive Technologies (LAIT) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affair and Special Events, the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections FundHyde Park Art Center and High Concept Labs.

Many thanks also to our individual donors, including Pamela Crutchfeld, Katherine Dreher, Robert Shannon, Mark Jeffery, Kathleen Hayes, Camilla Tassi, Roberto Sifuentes, Pilar Weiss and Paul Escriva.