Fungal Futures: the Mushrooms Utopia

Federico Andreotti
February 7th 2017

In 2005, in his book Mycelium Running, American mycologist Paul Stamets predicted that mushrooms would help save the world. Twelve years later, several scientists and innovative entrepreneurs are using mushrooms to run their researches, businesses and dreams. Until Sunday February 12, you can learn more about the role of fungal micro-organisms at Fungal Futures exhibition in Enschede, The Netherlands. Even Stamets would be astonished by what a group of artists and designers can make nowadays with mushrooms.

What is mycelium and what is its secret power? Fungal mycelium is a dense network of filamentous, called hyphae, capable of converting and breaking down the most variegate substrate. It can be used to create biomaterials with novel properties.

Fungal Futures aims to demonstrate that in the near future fungal organisms will be one of the main actors leading towards a responsible social development. The exhibition presents new sustainable applications for mushrooms: as textile, as transparent living materials, as base to grow shoes, clothes, bricks, lamps, vessels, chairs and even food on toxic waste. Essentially, it’s possible to create everything out of mushrooms, art and design masterpieces included.

The exhibition also promotes practical experiences. The time to buy aseptic supermarket champignons wrapped in plastic is over. Growing your own mushrooms at home is possible and here you can learn how to do that.

Fungal Futures acutely shows how human beings could build together with nature a more sustainable future, shaped by novel materials and processes relying on fungi.

Sources: TED, Fungal Futures

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Siri Beerends: I really embrace the idea that viruses can teach us a lesson in modesty. It is necessary that our position as the dominant species on the planet is being challenged. I also agree that it is a mistake to think that we are becoming Gods. But unfortunately, this is actually what is happening now. Corona doesn’t teach us to be modest, it teaches us how we can -as quickly as possible- go back to business as usual: saving our capitalistic economy.

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