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Mushroom Festival!

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The Mushroom Festival was a one-day event at The Bookcase on March 17, 2016.

Mycologist Dr. R. Greg Thorn tells the audience about samples from the UWO Biology collection. “Mushrooms are a communication system, like the Internet, only millions of years old.”

Paul Chartrand‘s scultures, drawings, and book work; Simone Sciascetti’s sculptures, George Tzanetakis, Tina Pearson and Paul Walde (LaSaM’s Experimental Music Unit)’s Music for Mycologists, Christopher Kennedy‘s Mycological Provisions, and Alexis William‘s Mushroom Oracle.

All photos by Kim Neudorf


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mushroom poster

After a short hiatus, The Bookcase is re-opening March 17 with the Mushroom Festival! Featuring artworks by local, national, and international artists, as well as mushroom treats, and a guide to local mushrooms by Western University fungi experts, the Mushroom Festival is a one day mycology extravaganza.

Tentative Schedule

10am The Bookcase opens – view sculptures by Paul Chartrand and Simone Sciascetti and a bookwork by Chartrand in the calm before the mushroom storm, tour the forest of mushroom art, and peruse mushroom-focused books from the Bookcase’s collection (the exhibition will be viewable all day).

12pm A short talk by fungi expert Dr. R. Greg Thorne. View mushroom samples (possibly including a 19th century Death Angel) with Nimalka Weerasuriya. Eat mushroom soup and mushroom tarts and, if you’re brave, try a little truffle honey.

1pm try out Alexis William’s Mushroom Oracle, “a tarot deck for artists, scientists and spiritual explorers that draws from biology and mythology to deliver words of wisdom from the mushroom spirits.”

2pm watch a screening of Christopher Kennedy’s Mycological Provisions, “an interview project archiving the stories of four contemporary artists while hunting for mushrooms in the summer of 2013.”

3pm Relax to the sounds of LaSaM Experimental Music Unit’s Music for Mycologists, a response to the work of John Cage, himself an avid mycologist.



Bone Sentence and Cedar Strip

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A new exhibition opens in The Bookcase, 12-4, November 4.

IMG_6044Bone Sentence

Patrick Mahon

found bone, glass, two 3-d plastic prints


This work-in-progress places a bleached caribou rib found while walking on the land in Nunavut alongside one of a group of glass ‘bones’ that Mahon made for the exhibition, “Cold Storage,” (2007-09), and also includes two newly generated 3-D print facsimiles. Mahon’s interest in setting up this linear material ‘progression’ is an attempt to make an allegory; placing what Andrew Hunter refers to as “a fragile reminder of an early form of Northern waste” together with two objects invoking apparent material cultural advancement, while setting a curiously timeless variation on a bone-like form in the centre of the string.[i]

In some promotional materials for the forthcoming volume, Shipwreck Modernity, Mahon’s recent collaborator, author Steve Mentz is said to “reveal the surprisingly modern truths to be found in some early stories of ecological collapse.” The impulse to read events and objects, even detritus, from the historical past as simultaneously predictive and fantastical is the intention.

Cedar Strip

Coral Rose Carson

found boat, cedar


Cedar strip boats are used at fishing lodges in Northern Ontario, including the Esnagami Lodge where Carson worked in the summer of 2015. At the end of the summer, the boats are burned in an annual bonfire, to prevent possible leaks and make room for new boats that will arrive the next season. Carson writes, “These cedar strips were more than firewood to me, they represent so much more than pieces of wood.” She was able to rescue a single large piece, which she transported on a twenty-seven hour journey that included a Cessna floatplane, a car, an overnight train and the commuter train to Oshawa. The cedar strip now sits in The Bookcase evoking the shipwreck modernity found Mahon’s “Bone Sentence,” a reminder of summer, the north, and the passing of time.

[i] Andrew Hunter. “Ideas of North”, in Patrick Mahon: Cold Storage, Render (University of Waterloo Art Gallery), 2007, p. 27.