Consciousness, Fungi, and Journeys within Architectures of the Mind 

Artist Talk with Marcos Lutyens and Special Guests

Saturday, September 15, 2018
2:00 – 3:30 pm

Frye Auditorium

In this talk—or to use a mushrooming term, foray—Los Angeles-based artist Marcos Lutyens will offer an introduction to his installation Library of Babel, a Symbiont Induction (2018), on view as part of Group Therapy. Lutyens and special guests will discuss how a spiral staircase of fruiting fungi becomes an entry point into themes of memory, genetics, medicine, and symbiosis. The reference in the title to the Library of Babel is borrowed from Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges’s short story in which all information past, present, and future is stored in a never-ending, recursive library. As contemporary advances in genetic mapping take place, we begin to see, through this unbelievably dense and microscopic coding, increasing similarities between fungi and humans—and how fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants.

Marcos Lutyens’s practice centers on the investigation of consciousness to engage the visitor’s embodied experience of art. Investigations have included consciousness research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raeilians, synaesthetes, border migrants, space engineers, and mental architects to explore how unconscious mind-sets shift across cultures and backgrounds.

Lutyens has exhibited internationally, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2017); La Monnaie de Paris (2017); 57th and 55th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2107 & 2013); Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool (2016); 14th Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul (2015); MoMA PS1, Queens (2014); National Art Museum of China, Beijing (2014); dOCUMENTA(13), Kassel (2012); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2010); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2010 & 2014); and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2010). Current and upcoming exhibitions, performances, and installations for 2018 include the Miró Foundation, Barcelona; Latvian National Museum of Art; and the 33rd Bienial de São Paolo.

Jenn Dazey is a core faculty member in the Department of Botanical Medicine at Bastyr University where she teaches herbal materia medica in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as organic gardening, soil ecology, medicinal and edible mushrooms, seaweeds, and seed saving. She has worked as an herbalist in private consulting since 2003, as a primary care physician since 2008, and frequently leads group trips to the tropics for botanical studies. Dr. Dazey has authored a number of articles as well as a book, Naturopathic Gardening, which draws parallels in gardening and clinical practice to better illustrate the principles of natural medicine. In 2017 she worked with Choice Teas to develop a line of four nutritional mushroom teas, including Reishi Detox and Reishi Matcha, so she is intimately familiar with the medicinal properties of the fungi used in Lutyens’s installation.

Zachary Tavlin teaches in the Department of Liberal Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is a Visiting Lecturer in English at the University of Illinois-Chicago. He received his PhD earlier this year from the University of Washington. His research spans the fields of American literature, poetics, art history, visual culture, critical theory, and the history of philosophy. His work can be found in such venues as ESQ, Wallace Stevens Journal, Continental Philosophy Review, Nathaniel Hawthorne Review, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Mississippi Quarterly, The Comparatist, and Transatlantica. Tavlin has written on the trans-historical relationship between Argentinian author Jorge Luis Borges and philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and will discuss his interpretation of Borges’s 1941 short story The Library of Babel, which features prominently in Lutyens’s installation.

Marcos Lutyens. Library of Babel, a Symbiont Induction, 2018. Ink and copper leaf on paper. Courtesy of the artist.


Free tickets are available on a first-come-first-served basis, and may be picked up at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium thirty minutes prior to the start of the program. There is no late seating, so please arrive early. As a special benefit, Frye members may reserve free tickets in advance to guarantee seating. To reserve, call 206 432 8289 or email at least two days prior to the event. Each member may reserve two tickets and may claim their tickets one hour prior to the start of the program.