Mycelium Mockup (2015)

Mycelium Mock-up is an architectural installation by AFJD that explores the role of biotechnology in the future of design. The installation consists of a two channel video projected on a screen constructed of sawdust and mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms. This thread-like fungus plays an essential role in natural world, aiding in the decomposition of materials and converting them to biologically available elements. In the case of Mycelium Mock-up, a local strain of mycelium is used as a binder that creates an advanced bio-composite projection screen that is partially edible and fully biodegradable.

During the installation, the wall functioned as a screen for a series of two channel projections developed by the Studio for Extesive Aesthetics. The videos use projection mapping, an emergent technology that enables irregularly shaped objects to be used as a display surface for video projection, to engage thematically with the shifting nature of embodied information networks and the difficulty of controlling biological systems.

During the installation, the wall produced edible oyster mushrooms, providing a source of food as well as structural support. At project end, what was not eaten was composted, returning valuable materials to the local ecosystem. A 4km long single fungus recorded in Oregon rates among the largest living organisms ever recorded. It functions as a living information structure, transmitting, reconstituting and distributing its the genetic codes via microscopic information-bearing spores that float like smart dust on the faintest breeze. Through video projections and biological engineering, the installation explores the challenges inherent of the embodied physical networks of the future.

From the exhibition announcement:

“ISEA2015 Artistic Directors Kate Armstrong and Malcolm Levy have developed a program of works that investigate the state of contemporary culture, with specific reference to natural processes and the effects of digital aesthetics on the living.

CATALYZE will feature an outdoor pavilion of drinks, conversation and music with works from by Instant Places (Ian Birse and Laura Kavanaugh), Nathanial Stern & Erin Manning, Amber Frid-Jimenez & Joe Dahmen, and Tobias Klein. Nathanial Stern & Erin Manning will present Weather Patterns: the Smell of Red, which uses wind and spice to create feedback loops that amplify how movement and transformation are sensed. Amber Frid-Jimenez & Joe Dahmen will present Mycelium Mockup, a video installation constructed from environmentally sustainable blocks of agricultural waste and mycelium, a thread-like fungus that plays an essential role in natural world. Tobias Klein will present Slow Selfie_3.0, a slow-growing sculpture that transforms crystal condensation into a three dimensional self-portrait. Also featuring artists, Katsufumi Matsui, Kazunori Ogasawara, Seiichiro Matsumura, Seiko Okamoto & Cuichi Arakawa.