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Two-channel video installation / Two Hantarex 28” monitors, fresnel lenses, metal stands, stained glass, wood.

Loop 2 min 46 sec / dimensions variable

Beemushroomed (2023) is a two-channel video installation that merges ancient shamanistic wisdom with modern developments in vision and perception. It consists of two Hantarex monitors mounted on metal stands, with transparent stained glass panels incorporating Fresnel lenses. The lenses, originally designed by Augustin-Jean Fresnel for lighthouses, are positioned at screen level. This arrangement recalls a scene from Terry Gilliam's 1985 film Brazil, where Fresnel panels comically serve as magnifiers for small monitors in the Ministry of Information offices. The stands and their components, including wooden blocks securing the glass, draw inspiration from Carlo Scarpa's iconic exhibition designs. On view are two monochromatic videos, distorted by the Fresnel lenses, featuring Sine Van Menxel, an artist and friend of Campers. She exudes a calm and composed demeanour, reminiscent of a shaman, as bees gradually gather on her arm.

Through this piece, Campers extends his exploration of the theories proposed by Terence McKenna, a dubious American writer, philosopher, and anthropologist known for his provocative views on evolution. McKenna suggested that human consciousness might have its origins in the consumption of psychedelic mushrooms (see Psilocybin Cubensis, 2017). One image that particularly resonated with Campers was found in McKenna's 1992 book Food of the Gods – a depiction of the bee-faced mushroom shaman of Tassili n'Ajjer. This rock painting, discovered on the Tassili Plateau in Algeria, an expanse of rugged stone formations, portrays a figure with a bee's head and mushrooms sprouting from its body, blending human and insect features. Much like the work itself, the painting hints at an ancient correlation between bees, their monochromatic vision, and altered states of consciousness induced by mushroom consumption. These elements converge towards the pursuit of experiences that transcend the confines of rationality or empirical comprehension.

-Laura Herman

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