»all my mycelial networks in the galaxy are in hyper light communication across space and time.« Terence McKenna, The Mushroom speaks
»The mycelium stays in constant molecular communication with its environment, devising diverse enzymatic and chemical responses to complex challenges.« Paul Stamets, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
»… Neither tales of progress nor of ruin tell us how to think about collaborative survival. It is time to pay attention to mushroom picking. Not that this will save us— but it might open our imaginations.« Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The mushroom at the end of the world : on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins
Mycelium Network Society is a Stadtwerkstatt (Linz, Austria) and cycleX (Andes, New York) initiative with expanded network nodes sprouting globally.
Mycelium Network Society (MNS) imagines an underground network situated in a post-internet mudland and powered by fungus, spores, culture, kitchen, radio, transmission, installations, workshops and performances. Departing from the pursuits of magic mushroom, MNS charts a state of hyper-hallucination to collective fungal consciousness, investigates the fungi culture, its network capacity to communicate and process information. As an after nature’s network, MNS commands its own domain in human-disturbed forests - sprouting across the moisture of rich soils, expanding its colonies, sharing information, networking co-habitants across borders. In our withered ecosphere, we seek out mycelium to lead us out of the ruins, to construct political tactics, to salvage economic meltdown, to persist in constant molecular communication a la mycelium mode.
Mycelium Network Society was launched with an exhibition, including a panel discussion and four artists working with mycelium culture, Martin Howse, Kartina Neiburga and Art bureau OPEN, Saša Spaˇcal, Mirjan Švagelj, Taro, and at ecologies excursion at transmediale2017 in Berlin, followed by a summer residency at Eleonore with 3 artists, Servando Barreiro, Callum Caplan, Azucena Sanchez, whose works were part of STWST48x3 in September 2017. For the years 2018-2020, we propose to branch out Mycelium Network Society a la franchise mode. We are reaching out to alternative art spaces and bio-hack-labs to adopt a network, to become a node of Mycelium Network Society, to set in their program a focus on artists who work with mycelium, fungus, spores as an art and network medium. We ask the network node to work with their artists locally to organize workshops, residencies and exhibitions. These local mycelium network nodes remain independent and autonomous in their operation and management while agree to share information, resources and be part of larger global mycelium network. We ask the nodes to harvest spores from local mushrooms and make spore prints for node to node spores exchange via post, to collect spores towards a joint spores release party held locally at each node in 2020.
By Spring 2018, we have nine nodes joined.
APO-33 Nantes, France
furtherfield London, UK
Coalesce: Center for Bilogical Art Buffalo, USA
Squeaky Wheel film and media art center Buffalo, USA
The Santuary for Independent Media | Nature Lab Troy, USA
GENSPACE New York City, USA
DIMENSION PLUS, Taipei, Taiwan
Bamboo curtain studio, Taipei, Taiwan
Absolute Art space, Tainan, Taiwan
In June 2018, I moderated an e-mail listserv forum entitled »rehearsal of a network« on - empyre-, which hosts a global community of new media artists, curators, theorists, producers, and others who engage in online discussion from critical perspectives on contemporary cross-disciplinary issues.
I make up these focuses for the four weeks with invited guests and all –empyre- community members.
June 1-8 (week 1) – focus on mycelium network society with network node participants
June 9-15 (week 2) – focus on networked activism and performance
June 16-22 (week 3) – focus on post-Net network imagination
June 23-30 (week 4) – focus on proposals for speculative, tangible networks
Here I quote some threads of the discussions:
Alan Sondheim (Internet Text, 5/06/2018)
»re:the release of spores from weather balloons and other means of distribution. Are you concerned about the issue of invasive species? ..... Mycelium spread of their own accord; there‘s competition among species. At the moment, with some more visible forms of life such as phragmites (which can also be considered networked), there are serious issues of native or local species going extinct. Do you worry that articial spore releases can contribute to this?«
Franz Xaver (stwst.at, 06/06/2018)
»…if our Information technology will only work with the known algorithm it will end the art. We need an opposite to the algorithm. We need to sleep to regenerate our brains. I think our Information technology is wrong. It only wants to generate truth. In the moment there is no place for emotion, impressions or art.«
Stephanie Rothenberg (Buffalo University, 6/06/2018)
»Over the past several years I’ve been examining how social media platforms are creating new financial networks. I started working with non-human media, aka house plants, because I craved a tactile and visceral counterpoint to the abstractions of these networks – as a strategy to make visible the real world consequences of inequality and inequity......
In starting this network (MNS), what are both the risks and the possibilities in the anthropomorphic?«
Paul Vanouse (Coalesce: Center for Bilogical Art, 7/06/2018)
»I’ve just begun my first mycellium endeavor this Spring based on induced melanin expression in Neurospora crassa. It becomes part of the cell walls. Genetically and phenotypically, black microbial forms and networks. These two current projects stem from my molecular biology work with DNA, as they aim to complicate simplistic senses of individual and group (human and racial) identity.«
FRAUD ( fraud.la , 11/06/2018)
»..... we are interested in the materiality and necropolitics of the network and critical ecologies. Of late, we have been thinking through the finantialisation of nature through emission trading systems and green bonds. We are producing a genealogy of the conception of the forest as a space of carbon flows which has carbon circulation, exchange and storage as a nominal abstractions.«
John Jordan (Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, 12/06/2018)
»we are inspired by mycelium and use it in our work to create tools
of creative disobedience against capitalism and all those who profit from the economy of death, the logic that puts life after commodities, profit before people, algorithms in front of the living relations that
we all share…«
Brian Holmes (Continental Drift, 14/06/2018)
»I realized that at one level, climate change is a species problem. We‘re in this together as an overpopulating species (the most invasive of all?)….. we need to work on shifting the very culture of domination, because its many strands and flavors orient people even before they enter the organizational structure.«
Ricardo Rene Dominguez (Electronic Disturbance Theater, 12/06/2018)
».... Then repeat. This process is one of networks being on repeat cycles that are unbound and rebound to networks that prepare the soil and wounds for something that will always be a rehearsal. ..... Multiple networks are always being rehearsed and it is always good to not only eat local but see what poison shrooms are also being grown next door.«
Kate Rich (feraltrade.org, 17/06/2018)
»my interests centre on persistence, alliance-making, and also on both scale-resistent & scale-jumping processes….. i am currently doing the groundwork to establish the next 20-year project which is the feral MBA, a radically reimagined business school where wild experiments in ‚business on other terms‘ might be cultivated.«
Ilze Black (take2030.net, 18/06/2018)
»I would like to put forward the notion of symbiosis for the post-net network imagination! .....This, however, requires for every supporter to become a symbiosis partner, to be considered as a cell in a social mycelium. Join the network of vanguard in the zone of symbiotic and relational mushroom-based autonomy! Simply put, this is a well-meant offer to become a mushroom.«
McKenzie Wark (A Hacker Manifesto, 26/06/2018)
»I think its more about bracketing-off what networks came to be in the two consolidations of the power of what i call the vectoralist class. The first was around 2000, with the rise of corporate forms built on nothing but IP. The second came a decade later, with the commodification not just of information but also of the social network itself.«
Francesca da Rimini /DollYoko (VNS Matrix, 26/06/2018)
»I realize that the movement has changed over time, but I‘m wondering if it might be useful to think about this kind of small scale/scalar/networked social experiment as mycelial? (as might be comparable even smaller experiments in building intentional ‚queered‘ fam/community?«
Jaromil (dyne.org, 29/06/2018)
Just like network routing algorithms were inspired by ant scenting patterns, we are witnessing a moment in history in which the mainstream industry with all its techno-poetic powers have embraced the patterns of Mycelia. Sadly? through us. And its not there to save us and the world.
It was a great month in –empyre- with thoughts bouncing off finger tips, sparking crossfires. I thank all participants for their contributions.
My final non-conclusive posting-
»I am standing still in this junction with walkers in all directions, that particular center of the universe in Shibuya‘s transit exit......... the swarm of thoughts from outer universe hitting at you... spores falling like spring snow, invasive as they are.«