Microbial & Mycelial projects >
Growing Mycelium and Physarum polycephalum over bio-filament structures both 3D printed and
hand formed (crochet/knit). These living organisms are sealed/contained within glass and/or polycarbonate forms. These forms have SEM images fused/printed onto sections, allowing people to view the growth forms taking place inside.
Working with either glass and/or polycarbonate allows me to create particular forms, and add reactive touch points (electrodes) towards visitor bio-sonification with the living organisms housed inside.
Part of the concept towards this work involves Panspermia, the theory that life on earth originated from microorganisms or chemical precursors of life present in outer space and able to initiate life on reaching and colonizing a suitable environment. In 2004 NASA launched the Stardust mission. The primary goal of the Stardust mission was to collect samples of a comet and return them to Earth for laboratory analysis. Comets are ancient bodies of frozen ice and dust that formed beyond the orbit of the most distant planet. They were expected to contain materials that the solar system formed from, preserved in ice for billions of years. When the international team of 200 scientists began examination of the returned particles, they found that the particles were indeed ancient building blocks of the solar system but the nature and origin of the particles was quite unexpected.
One of the most unexpected was the 2009 discovery of the amino acid glycine by a team of scientists from the Goddard Space Flight center. The significance of this discovery is that comets must have delivered at least one amino acid to our planet before it had life. Because most stars have comets it suggests that all Earth-like planets obtain important pre-biotic molecules from space.
Midi Bio-Sonification allows me to set electrodes onto or in to mycelium, slime mould and various bacteria in order to ‘hear’ them. “Bio-sonification,” basically means using technology to turn the bio-rhythms of natural objects into sound.
For this project 5 midi bio-sonification modules would be hooked up to the living organisms translating their bio-data to midi and Human visitors bio-data, when touching the electrodes.
Mycelium is sentient. It knows that you are there. When you walk across landscapes, it leaps up in the aftermath of your footsteps trying to grab debris. Mycelium also seems to be particularly sensitive to the presence of people.
Visitors are invited to consider their ‘energy’ as they enter into the mycelial space; are they relaxed, stressed, positive, curious, anxious? How might they affect the living sculptures? As more people enter the area will the mycelial sound grow frenetic or more harmonic? For reasons that I do not fully understand, the Mycelium react to the proximity of some people more than others. Will visitors be attracted or repulsed and in turn, how will the Mycelium respond to the humans entering the space and viewing them?
I had a bit of an epiphany last summer (2019) while I was in Australia concerning Mushroom leather, and how-to.
I've played around with Fomes fomentarius, which is labour intensive! And I realized, in a bit of a facepalm moment, of course, I could grow the mycelium into leather forms rather than struggle through the process of turning a layer of Tinder conk into a leather. While the leather from Tinder conk is beautiful, it is a ton of work not to mention having the harvest large conks. I suppose cultivation may be an option, but again this equals hours of labour for minimal turnout.
I plan to upload images soon of some of the "leather" grown so far. Meanwhile, leather?! What would be an ideal name for this Myco leather? Ok yes, people can readily identify leather but I would prefer an alternative. I don't really feel this mushroom leather is vegan because mushrooms aren't plants...
Towards 3D printing with mycelium, a new printer is on its way to co:Lab|nanopod studio! A CeramBot
Super excited to start exploring builds, and growth potentials.