Agata Siniarska (PL/DE) and Eryk Salvaggio (USA)

November 9 – 19:00 CET

Online Encounter / November 9 – 19:00 CET (Central European Time)
Moderation: Bianca Mendonça and Korina Kordova

The online encounter

Our third online encounter brings together choreographer Agata Siniarska (PL/DE) and new media artist Eryk Salvaggio (USA). Their interests meet around non-anthropocentric perspectives, human and non-human alliances, and worldmaking.

In this encounter, Agata and Eryk will talk with and through their own artistic practices. Their research interests range from strategies to approach more-than-human entities and the impossibilities of such endeavour, to extinction, empathy, and a system that generates sound through the connection of an Oyster mushroom to an analog synthesizer.

More information about the series of online encounters

The participants

Agata Siniarska works in the field of extended choreography. She places her practice between how we think about the world and how we move in it. It is a place where somatics and politics intersect – a place where body perception meets social engagement – between somatic and environmental landscapes, between human and non-human bodies. Agata’s present research explores the idea of an Anthropocene museum, multi-species archives in the time of extinction and various human and non-human alliances.

Eryk Salvaggio is a design researcher and new media artist. His works emerge from rethinking anthropocentric ideologies in design processes. Exploring tensions between the impossibility of human absence and the reorientation toward nonhuman relationships, his work simultaneously tests and advances the possibility of empathy in designing within planetary systems. His most recent work, Worlding, is a series of compositions created by directing communication voltage within an Oyster mushroom through an analog synthesizer. The work explores design through cybernetic frameworks of communication and control, while questioning the subjectivity within technocratic scientific approaches, and asks how we might design for the systems we live in, rather than for ourselves. His website is


Agata and Eryk share with us their experiences of working artistically on being with non-human entities and attempting to communicate with them as methods of artistic research and creation. They reflect on possibilities of shared agency with the non-human in the creation and performance of artworks. While Eryk listens to and researches in the presence of mushrooms, creating systems that speculate on communication between them, Agata uses body-based practices to position herself in relation to non-human entities through a choreographic approach to ecological thinking.

Both share an interest in technologies, while considering machines, language and bodies equally as technologies to communicate. In their encounter they discuss the concepts of speaking nearby and making with, opposing to speaking with or about the non-human. Throughout the conversation, questions arise and repeat themselves, such as How can we understand without interacting? What happens in the absence of the human? Do mushrooms want to communicate with us?

“The idea that was interesting to me about this project (Worlding) was, to approach it as a way of designing technologies for listening and approaching the design of the projects as a series of questions about navigating my own presence in the designed process with my own absence from the designed process. 

In the recordings that I’ve created, my goal has been not to shape them in as much as creating a structure for the synthesiser and the mushroom to co-create this presence, this sense of presence. So I’ve talked about this through this lens of Postapocalyptic Encounters defining it as the absence of the human and the presence of the non-human(…).” (Eryk Salvaggio)

“I don’t know exactly what does it mean, to say to speak with non-human or how we can (…) erase our presence or our construction, our way of constructing the world, so to speak nearby is something that I think is closest to my work (…).” (Agata Siniarska)




“I don’t believe I can understand the mushroom, (…) but I think if I will be quiet and be attentive, I have a chance that for a tiny bit, or for a moment, I can expand my own human being.” (Agata Siniarska)

“If I may, it’s a comment on what you mentioned, (…) It is quite wonderful to think about it as they’re speaking nearby and we have a sense of observation of that speaking, the making with the machine and the fungi colony.” (Eryk Salvaggio”

“How do you invite mushrooms to your work?” (Agatha Siniarska)

“This is a story that I can tell you: (…) the mushrooms were growing and they were connected to the synthesizer and producing these sounds. Mushrooms communicate internally through voltage spikes and this is unlike other plants (…) where you can get electricity, but you don’t get voltage spikes in response to the same stimulation. And this has been compared to a grammatical language. (…) 

The mushroom sits right next to me here, not currently, but it’s there and I hear it making these loud sounds and I wonder why is it making these lound sounds. I kind of record it and I stop, I turn off the light, I leave the room and it dawns on me the next morning: maybe there is something it’s been responding to. And I come back and I test the lamp, I turn the lamp on and two minutes to go and it starts to spike. The spikes go and I turn the lamp off and after seven minutes, it gives these five jolts in a pattern. 1-2-3. 1-2. And then it stops. (…) 

Is the mushroom actually trying to communicate with me? It’s impossible to tell. And as much as I try to think about this, I realise, maybe it doesn’t matter, because the mushroom did communicate with me. So, can we say that the mushroom meant to? Can we say that the mushroom has intention? I can’t. But I can say that it succeeded, that ultimately regardless of the purpose of those spikes, the mushroom succeeded in getting me to turn off the lamp.” (Eryk Salvaggio)

“I’m really intrigued by the title of this event, which is Postapocalyptic (Encounters) and I was wondering: what is ‘post’ and what is ‘apocalypse’? (…) my answer to my own question would be that we pass this idea that the world is waiting for an apocalypse as a big boom, but we start to think apocalypse also as a rationality, something that expands in different timeframes and throughout different bodies, humans and non-humans, and throughout different kinships. (..) And my biggest question is, and I think this is the role of arts, how can we think through different time and space frames, if the apocalypse is already happening or is more touchable in different places than where we are situated and how this also touches immediately our ecosystem. Or how can we be aware of this? If one species extintcs, what extincts in me or in my ecosystem? How can this be tangible for me?” (Agata Siniarska)

“Apocalypse is not a boom, Apocalypse is a process. A process that has started, a process that we are digging in through our actions. (…) Korina and I thought about the idea that the apocalypse happened already, or at least it happened for some folks, when we think about the process of colonisation, and thinking about that they lived this process of extinction and elimination. And looking from this perspective we also started to ask, (…) how this process of extinction and elimination is also happening now in other contexts and what we could learn from this experience and the perspective of the folks who live it.” (Bianca Mendonça)

“In the context of the arts (…) and talking about technology, and Agata mentioning the technology of the body, in this field I also noticed the specificity of words, that you are using, this “nearby”(…). Language itself is a technology, which we somehow sometimes don’t realise, because it’s human-centered and not centered in a machine. And how this apocalypse pushes us to create new forms of speaking, (…) and trying to find new technologies that could be for example machine-based technologies, body-based technologies or language-based technologies and somehow have all of that to form this body that can mediate. 

Something that interested us, or something that they (populations of Latin America) do have in common (..) is basically that they have a completely different way of placing themselves in the world and in relation to the non-human than modern western society.” (Korina Kordova)

“(…) there is this aspect of discovery(…). Who am I to need a mushroom to be plugged into electrodes in order for me to be able to recognize it. (…) How do I know that the mushrooms wants to be listetend to? What are the ways that we can be present to these interactions and relationships in ways where we don’t meddle, where we don’t impose, where we’re allowed to be around.(…)  

We are not discovering the conversation of the mushrooms! The mushroom is there, the mushroom is sending these signals. The mushroom is communicating internally with and out in the world with the root systems and the plant life that it wants to mingle with.” (Eryk Salvaggio)

“I think the problem is that here, in this area of the world (meaning Europe) we don’t have practices of speaking nearby. Our culture doesn’t offer us anything and there are no tools for this. So my question is, where to learn from, of course without cultural appropriation, without being violent, without “ok, we fucked up the world, now teach us how we can unfuck it up!”. (…) we also need to embrace our privileges that we have, since we take so many advantages from globalisation, so how can we expand time and space through understanding that if I do it here, it costs somewhere else and how can I be conscious about this. Because it always costs something. (…) 

I think this is the big tragedy of our culture, that we just don’t have it. We don’t know how to sit with a tree or we don’t know how to sit with mushrooms. We just don’t have it.” (Agata Siniarska)

Listening to a sound recording of the mushroom colony during the online encounter with Eryk Salvaggio and Agata Siniarska
Screenshot from

“I think that sometimes it’s about simplicity, which is extremely difficult.(…)

What does it mean, to sit with it? (…) I sit with it… and it’s impossible. It’s impossible, ok, I sit with it. I’ll sit with it one more moment… it’s still impossible. I’ll sit with it a little bit more… it’s impossible!(…)

While we talk about the communication with non-humans, first of all we need to think about what communication is and we have to reformulate what the communication is. And maybe we should also shut up!” (Agata Siniarska)

Watch our teaser video of the 3rd online encounter here!

Click here for the full length video recording of the online encounter with Agata Siniarska and Eryk Salvaggio


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