Tag Archives: materials

Bio-Sonification & nanopod studio’s metamorphosis

visitors interacting with Primordia at GrowOp2019
visitors interacting with Primordia at GrowOp2019

From the overwhelmingly, unexpected, positive response my Grow Op 2019 installation, Primordia received it is clear the time has come to move forward with sculpting mycelium, working with mycelium towards bio-remediation, recording bio-data from mycelium, visiting old growth forests, delving deeper into my interest in mycology.

 nanopod: Hybrid Studio has always been dedicated to research, and my love of science: Astronomy, biology (marine, fungi/mycology, bacteria, bio-hacking), microscopy, geography- to name a few of my interests! After the Fukushima disaster, my focus started to change from making ‘jewellery’ or wearable metal art and flame-working glass to researching new materials I might work with and learn from that are not harmful to our shared environment, use less energy or give back energy.  Initially, I participated in workshops teaching Japanese techniques of working with paper (turning it into threads or yarn and/or waterproofing washi), clay and studying Obvara (because- yeast glaze!) to growing gourmet mushrooms and using the mycelium blocks to sculpt with!    Sound art has been a serious interest of mine since putting together mix-tapes in grade school, recording my friend’s voices, field recordings to building circuits that go beep (until I figured out how to make these circuits do more than just that!) I now combine my love of ‘found’ sounds and mycology. So, my focus seriously zeroed in on working with non-human organisms, listening to them (if you will) mid-2016 and this focus has snowballed.  I am forever grateful for all of the support nanopod studio received as a goldsmith and silversmith studio school and the love received as a glass studio and school. Now I feel the time has come to move deeper into my work with sound, mycelium towards bio-remediation and giving back to the planet and its inhabitants in a more material friendly manner. This website will remain up throughout 2019, workshop offerings will start to wain as nanopod: Hybrid Studio metamorphs into its new form.  

Love always, Tosca 


(my·ce·li·um \mī-ˈsē-lē-əm\) the mass of interwoven filamentous hyphae that forms especially the vegetative portion of the thallus of a fungus and is often submerged in another body (as of soil or organic matter or the tissues of a host)  A.K.A. — mushroom roots

Sunday, May 19 1pm-5pm
Build your own Nanotopian MIDI Bio-Sonification Module and start listening to the biology around you!
Biodata Sonification is a process to translate complex real-time sensor data into musical notes and controls, exploring the auditory sensory modality to provide insights into invisible phenomenon.

Seacliff life along Húnaflói Bay, Iceland.

Collaborate sonically with the non-human organisms around you. Next time you go on a picnic bring along your Bio-sonification Module & listen to the sounds of the forest, how it responds to your presence then, place the electrodes onto your friends or hook up your houseplant and see how it really feels!
Students receive step by step guidance putting together their own Bio-Sonification Module kit and help in understanding how the device works.
Last part of the workshop participants place electrodes onto plants, fungi, themselves or each other and listen to their Bio-data through Ableton Live, Animoog, Model 15 (or similar digital music apps and analog synths) creating a Bio-Sonification Symphony!

Various plants, soil, and Mycelium will be available during the workshop for participants to place their electrodes onto along with iConnectivity Midi to USB/Lightning connectors for participants to try out different instruments/software; Ableton, Animoog on iPad, Model 15 (on iPhone & iPad), Moog Mother32s, Make Noise NoCoast, etc. Other possibilities are shown and discussed, for instance, Ableton Max/MSP Midi video disruption!

Each participant receives their very own Bio-Sonification Module kit, a Module container file that they can 3D print offsite and a lo-tech version we will put together during the workshop, a set of electrodes and electrode pads or electrode clips (participants can choose during the workshop). The Bio-Sonification Modules were created by Tosca Teran with the assistance of Manuel Domke and Sam Cusumano!

Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of soldering is very important. Here is a link to the Mighty Ohm’s, fullsoldercomic_en Some Ableton Live knowledge is helpful, but not necessary!

“Bio-sonification,” basically means using technology to turn the bio-rhythms of natural objects into sound.


The Open Source Biodata-Sonification Modules were originally designed and created by Engineer, Sam Cusumano. Visit Sam’s biodata forum over at electricity for progress http://electricityforprogress.com Plus, he sells a bunch of super cool electronic kits, boards and more!

CV Sunday, Sculpting with Mycelium, Insect spreading workshop and more!

Please note: some of these workshops take place at co:Lab studio/gallery. 

CV Sunday at co:Lab

MoogFest 2018 Engineer workshop

Share a patch/Learn a patch

Nanotopia plan to have some of the following out on a table: Moog Subharmonicon, DFAM, juiced up Minitaur and some Moms hanging out with Make Noise, Erica Synths, Teenage engineering Pocket Operators, Nanotopian Midi Bio-Sonification modules and who knows!?

Bring your gear!
2pm – 6pm

Insect Spreading workshop

Back & Front view
Back & Front view


Learn how to spread moths/butterflies and beetles. Thursday evening, February 28. Class  starts at 7pm

In this class, students will learn about basic insect preparation. We will discuss harvesting and drying specimen, rehydrating dried specimen, and in class we will practice handling techniques, spreading, mounting, the nuances of posing, display, and maintenance. An assortment of ethically sourced insects; Beetles, moths and butterflies, in various sizes, shapes, and colours will be provided. Students will learn how to put together and maintain their own rehydration chamber, things to check for during all stages of the process to ensure a clean and successful end product, and tips for gentle handling. We will also cover how to select museum quality materials for displays. Students receive 1 Riker mount (or similar) for their specimen, 1 set of insect pins & 2 insects.

As always, all specimen are ethically sourced. We will be reviewing the origins of the insects used in class, how students can ethically and legally source specimen, and suggested, reputable suppliers.

Students go home with their own prepared insects, one Riker mount (or similar) display, the pinning/spreading board made during class, resource list as well as 1 set of insect pins and the knowledge to create their own pieces in the future. It is recommended students bring a small bag or box or display case to transport their pieces.

Sculpting with Mycelium workshop.

Sculpting with Mycelium: working with environmentally friendly, renewable materials
Tuesday evening, starting March 5th, 7pm-9pm.

Sculpting with Mycelium workshop.

Sculpting with Mycelium: working with environmentally friendly, renewable materials


Bio-materials are grown over several days, participants are welcome to meet up every 3rd to 5th evening after the first start-up date to check on their Mycelium’s growth*! $60/pp includes:
1 round planter growth form
1 bag of Hemp substrate inoculated with Mycelium
Sculpting mix
Nitrile gloves
Particulate masks
Mycelium food
This workshop includes everything you need to grow a round planter, as well as hand-sculpt a small form plus, a full bag of substrate inoculated with mycelium! Suggestions on how to grow other forms or grow onto various armatures (3D printed, hand knit/crocheted) is discussed.

Evening 1: we start with an introduction and demonstrate how the growth materials work, as well as discuss Mycelium; what it is, its benefits to us and our environment. Then everyone feeds their Mycelium and leaves them to rest in a safe, cosy dark place or participants are welcome to bring their substrate home!  Everyone is invited to work with a pre-myceliated bag of the substrate on the first evening, packing a form that will grow over several days that they can pick up from the studio at a later date to desiccate at home. Desiccation is discussed.
Evening 2* (optional)WOW look how you’ve grown! Your Mycelium has grown and consumed its substrate. Now we gently, yet firmly work with our Mycelium through sculpting with special media and/or using forms to grow our planters!
After forming/sculpting the Mycelium is again placed into a dark, cosy space where it can happily grow to fill or cover our structures!
Evening 3* (optional)Forms are ready for desiccation and use! Everyone unpacks their forms, weighs them and then we bake them until they weigh approximately 35% less then pre-desiccated weight. Participants also have the option to dry their forms at home. Once dried students can plant lovely succulents, cactus, or use their forms as sculptures or packing materials and marvel over nature!

Mycelium= the mass of interwoven filamentous hyphae that forms especially the vegetative portion of the thallus of a fungus and is often submerged in another body (as of soil or organic matter or the tissues of a host) aka mushroom roots

* participants have the option of brining their GIY/substrate materials home after feeding them the first evening, along with instructions (emailed PDF) to continue exploring sculpting and growing mycelium and mushrooms at home. Alternatively, participants can schedule 2 evenings 3-5 days apart to return and check on the mycelium’s growth progress, sculpt with their material and learn about desiccation.

Artist-instructor Tosca Teran works with Mycelium collaboratively –
creating the Midnight Mushroom Music Podcast.
This year (2019) Tosca and Andrei (together forming Nanotopia) are offering workshops making Bio-Sonification Modules out of their shared studio space, Interaccess.org, UofT and abroad.
Personal: www.toscateran.com
Tosca was recently interviewed by, Ecovative Designs. Check out the
interview here, https://ecovativedesign.com/blog/178
Tosca was one of 4 artists recommended and awarded a 3-month residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Ontario Science Centre studio. The residency starts March 15th, 2019. Check out her website for information concerning this amazing collaboration and forming of The Alien Agencies Collective.

Nanotopian Midi Bio-Sonification Module building workshop!

Saturday and Sunday, Feb 23/24 1-4pm $95/pp includes full kit, instructions, solderless bread-boarding intro.        

Collaborate sonically with the non-human organisms around you. In this workshop, you will learn how to build a Nanotopian MIDI Bio-sonification Module. Listen to the sounds of the organisms around you (such as your plants!), how it responds to your presence, and see how it really feels!

Participants receive step by step guidance to build their own MIDI Bio-Sonification Module and how the device works. Once kits are built participants are shown how to change Midi scales/channels, LED brightness and more with Arduino. We will discuss MIDI and how it works. Once the modules are completed, participants place electrodes onto plants, fungi, themselves or each other and listen to their Bio-data through Ableton Live, Animoog, Model 15 or similar digital music apps and analogue synths) creating a MIDI Bio-Sonification Symphony!

Please note: This is not a Soldering 101 course. It is very important participants know how to solder. Recommended class if you do not know how: https://interaccess.org/workshop/2018/dec/making-art-electronics 

Please purchase one of our fully built modules in the instance you do not know how to solder. They can be found here.