Von/durch/mit Pilze/n lernen
What role can mushrooms play in helping us rethink the relationships and communities that exist both among and beyond humans? This paper explores interactions between fungi and humans in order to gain a different perspective on such connections in times of crisis. I see a metaphor for social structures and collaborations in the mycelium (the total rhizomorphic network of a fungus) and the mychorriza (the symbiosis between the mycelium and the roots of a plant). My bachelor’s thesis “Mycelium – Pleurotus Ostreatus, Ganoderma Lucidum” (2019) looks at fungal cultures from an artistic and research-based perspective, and this paper draws upon that earlier work in order to explore my own encounters with mycelium. Since the pandemic has so far made it virtually impossible to test the project on an educational and dialogic level, my interest is in the potential encounters it might produce, and in the question of whether attempting to adopt other perspectives can foster curiosity and preparedness, or response-ability. In Learning from Mushrooms, I thematize the symbiotic relationships and network structures of the mycelium and mychorriza, with a focus on processes and explorative tendencies. In Learning through Mushrooms, I describe physical encounters between fungi and humans, based on my research on mycelium. By growing mycelium in DIY laboratory facilities, a tangible touch-point is established that allows processes of growth to be observed and scrutinized. Learning with mushrooms examines how the co-existence between people and mushrooms is conceived and perceived, based on the mycelium exhibition I developed for my bachelor’s degree.

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