Week 40: StrataSpore

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week — as we head into prime mushrooming season — we’ll be talking with Kate Cahill, Caroline Woolard and Chris Kennedy from StrataSpore, a platform for collective knowledge about mushrooms.


Initiated by Kate Cahill, Christopher Kennedy, Athena Kokoronis, Caroline Woolard, and mycologist Gary Lincoff, StrataSpore uses mushrooms as material and metaphor for latent, often unseen but eminently plausible worlds. Think about it: mushrooms not only feed communities — to great gastronomic, nutritional and hallucinatory delight — but at this very moment are eating oil spills, connecting old members of Fluxus, growing as alternative packaging material. As the earth’s oldest known organism, they may even have been what turned rock into soil, turning the earth into a plausible lifeworld. And mushrooms are the pivotal orientation point for members of StrataSpore to explore urban systems. Drawing inspiration from the connective function and form of mushroom ecology, StrataSpore uses local fungi in the New York City area as a model for engagement and re-interpretation of living in urban spaces. How do mushrooms discretely but radically change a landscape’s ecology? In what way do they insinuate a world within the world?

Inspired by rhizome networks as tools for bioremediation — a metaphor for the layers of unseen infrastructure below our feet, and a collaborative niche upon which to focus a collective narrative — StrataSpore seeks to cultivate “spores” of knowledge by combining elements of task/performance-based art, experiential learning, and experimental design practice that implements a dialogue about unseen, natural and man-made systems as sites for restorative sustainability applications in local NYC ecosystems. An invisible, but eminently edible world? Mushrooms as material and metaphor for worldmaking…