Finlay Dale - BA (Hons) Fine Art

Hyfae of The Forest-Flesh of The Other

Deep in the burrows of soft lustre green 

a tubular network  

calls and mummers in the dark

What stirs in your heart 

to see something almost human?

Reach out 


Birthed from the soil 

split from a starfruit 

a supple bed of moss

Flesh of the gods is 

ambrosia scented

in the fly agaric cycle

Breathless bacchanalia   

satisfy the urge

Dine on pomegranate, honey and fig 

quail and quince

Wake in a soft feather bed with leaves in the throat 

muddied, bloodied feet 

mirage of a human

Call to Pan  

What secrets lie behind the twist of twigs? 

embraced by roots 

crease into skin

Throw off your reticences

delve into soil 

Listen to the whisper of something you do not understand 

Finlay Dale examines what it means to possess a queer body through explorative movement and costume; becoming something warped, not quite human. ‘Flesh of the Other’ combines costume and reality, play and provocation. The relationship of skin and senses within nature intertwined with Dale’s own gender identity brings a positive outlook on trans bodies. The natural world can be an unbiased haven in which to explore the shape and fluctuation of ones body. This othering of the external self was enhanced by the public who witnessed ‘The Hyfae.’ Reactions varied between intrigued and suspicious. No explanation was offered.

’Hyfae of The Forest’ considers nature as a concept through the lens of folklore and mythology. There is an inherent association between the fae folk and mushrooms. Mycelium’s workings and communication with its surroundings are elusive and intriguing, much like fairytales. Both part of worlds that are not quite our own, both full of life and death. Dale’s exploration into these non-human worlds allows one to wonder how to care for and consider the natural environment and our inherent entanglements with it.