Poison Mentor by Peter Courtemanche, © 2009
Poison Mentor is a sonic tree fungus. It is a creature of many eyes (solar cells), all pointing in different directions. In bright sunlight, the eyes are active at different times of the day, causing the fungus to swing through various moods as the day progresses and the lighting conditions change. This fungus is a scientist. It has become aware of increased radiometric activity in its surroundings and has decided to study this phenomenon. In a very un-fungus like way, it has become attracted to the sun as a means of powering systems that can monitor this radiation. It uses antenna-tendrils to follow patterns from am/fm radio, television, cell phones, atmospheric phenomenon, etc. It reports its findings, through an audio speaker, as clicks and pops (similar to a geiger counter).
Peter Courtemanche is a contemporary sound and installation artist from Vancouver. He creates radio, installations, network projects, performances, curatorial projects, and handmade CD editions. His art works often have a literary basis - inspired by narrative texts and the history of specific installation sites. Installation works include: "Divining for Lost Sound"(1996-99) - an outdoor interactive sound work created in collaboration with Lori Weidenhammer; "Spark-Writing" (2004) - a sound piece that plays with ideas of fantastical musical instruments; and "Preying Insect Robots" (2006).