We’re building a mycelia zoetrope!


I’m over the moon to share the news that artists Stef Choi and Tony Candelaria received a grant from The Celebration Foundation to build a mycelia zoetrope for our December 2-3, 2012 Oregon Mushroom Stories exhibition (aka The Mush Days).

A mycelia zoetrope? Before they submitted their grant proposal, I had never heard of a zoetrope.

A zoetrope is an early device for creating the illusion of continuous motion. A traditional zoetrope presents a sequence of still pictures through slits in a rotating drum approximately the diameter of a record player, making the images appear to merge and thereby creating animation.

Tony and Stef’s zoetrope will be much larger in scale – at 6 feet in diameter – and will feature sculptures instead of pictures, depicting different stages of the fungi life cycle, from two hyphae of mycelia to a fruited mushroom. Participants will have the opportunity to see a mushroom sprout right before their eyes, spinning the crank to bring the sculptures into motion. Rather than peering through slits, the effect will be created by a strobe light cast against the wall.

Tony and Stef shared these examples with me to give a taste of what a large scale zoetrope looks like. This first was made by Pixar:

Here is an example at an even larger scale – the creators claim it’s the largest zoetrope ever built:

And here, amazingly, is a zoetrope cake in tribute to Tim Burton:

The Caketrope of BURTON’s Team from Alexandre DUBOSC on Vimeo.

I’m really looking forward to watching Tony and Stef figure out how to animate the mycological process. I’ll do my best to document their work as it develops! We hope you’ll join us December 2 and 3 for the unveiling at The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel Portland. Find out more about the exhibition here.

-Lola Milholland

[Illustration by Stef Choi on a photo by Carole Topalian.]

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3 Responses to “We’re building a mycelia zoetrope!”
  1. Anna Stulz says:

    Thanks for adding me to your update list Lola! Anna

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  1. […] collective Belly & Bones (Stef Choi & Tony Candelaria) are creating an interactive zoetrope sculpture that presents a fungi life cycle, from mycelia to mushroom. With the spin of a crank this […]

  2. […] collective Belly & Bones (Stef Choi & Tony Candelaria) is creating an interactive zoetrope sculpture that presents a fungi life cycle, from mycelia to mushroom. With the spin of a crank this […]



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