Mycotechnology: the fungal frontier


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Final exhibit slideshow for the Hybrid Worlds class at Parsons, The New School. This project is conceived as a DIY zine reflecting on the process of growing and exploring the world of mushrooms and mycology.

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Mycotechnology: the fungal frontier

  1. 1. Mycotechnology the fungal frontier chris crews | PhD student | Political Theory New School for Social Research
  2. 2. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 2 Abstract This project seeks to introduce mycotechnology to a broad audience through a fusion of art and literature. The basic outline for this proposal involves growing and then documenting—in the form of a DIY zine—the basic process and steps of mushrooms cultivation and production in the home. By fusing photos, illustrations, philosophic reflections and step- by-step instructions, an easy to use guide for anyone interested in trying this at home can be produced and freely distributed.
  3. 3. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 3 Concept Show how urban ecology using mushrooms (mycotechnology) can help to divert waste materials from trash and recycling. Demonstrate a simple growing process that anyone can reproduce. Explore the multiple interfaces of mushrooms into our daily lives: art, science, medicine, food, ecology, spirituality. Produce a visually engaging medium to learn about mushrooms.
  4. 4. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 4 Social Context We eat mushrooms, use them for medicine, experiment with them in labs, ingest them for ritual and spiritual purposes, and honor them in word and image. Fungi also inspire a wide range of art pieces, educational projects and do-it-yourself (DIY) experimentation. Stunt Kid – 'Mushrooms & maggots' Ecological Education Examples of DIY zines
  5. 5. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 5 Applied Mycotechnology Mycotechnology is an emerging field which focuses on ecological restoration, often tied in with the ideas of permaculture. Some mycotechnology examples include: Mycorestoration: Using mushrooms to rebuild depleted soils, break down industrial toxins and support natural ecosystems. Mycoforestry: Using mushrooms to rebuild forest soils, stop erosion and soil slippage, and establish symbiotic soil networks. Mycoremediation: Using mushrooms to rebuild soil mass, nutrient networks and re-establish an optimal soil structure.
  6. 6. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 6 Mushrooms – As Easy as ABC It doesn't matter if it is an old laundry basket, a mini greenhouse or just a plate on the kitchen counter, growing mushrooms indoors is fun, easy and can even help the environment.
  7. 7. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 7 From Waste to Art This project involved several steps: 1) Substrate and Materials Setup ➢ Collecting cardboard/paper, coffee grounds and burlap ➢ Ordering mushroom spawn and growing supplies Paper waste Used coffee grounds Recycled cardboard
  8. 8. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 8 Fungi Inspiration 2) Growing and Documenting ➢ Sketches for sculpture and timeline for spawning/fruiting ➢ Mushroom spawning in various stages Experimental sketches Early yellow oyster growth Fruiting mushroom bodies
  9. 9. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 9 The Rebirth of Waste 3) Compilation and Reflection ➢ Harvesting and reflecting on growing process ➢ Combining experience and documents into a print publication + = DIY fungi zine
  10. 10. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 10 Sample pages from zine
  11. 11. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 11 Conclusion Mushrooms are a fascinating species, in part, because of how little we understand about them in relation to their proliferation around the world. Yet for all their mystery, they are something which can easily be grown and experimented with at home. The many benefits which mycotechnology can provide, as well as the many new uses still being developed and studied, suggests that mushrooms have untapped potential as a tool for urban agriculture and ecological education. In order to fully appreciate the power of the Fungi Kingdom, we need an easy way to engage with, and learn about them. My DIY Fungi offers one fun and easy way to do just that.
  12. 12. Hyb Worlds: Nano.Bio + Art rid 12 References Deacon, Jim. Fungal Biology. Oxford: Blackwell. 2006. Lincoff, Gary H. Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1981. Mycotechnology. <>. Stamets, Paul and J.S. Chilton. A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home. Olympia: Agarikon Press. 1983. Stamets, Paul. Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. 2000. Stamets, Paul. Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. 2005. Shroomery. Mushroom Growers Forum. 3.25.2010. <>.