This project was supported by 2 consecutive residencies: Sumter Cultural Center -- Accessability 2007 and the Green Quad Learning Center and David Whiteman. Fabulous assistance by Jason Craig at the Columbia site. Thanks also to David, Bubba, Ronnie, Lemont, Audrey, Lexi and her friends for help assembling and disassembling the Sumter site. An edging hand to the node of Kathie Hodge and her network in the mycelial world. A detrital knee-dropping to Paul Stamets for his most generous donations of running mycelium in my direction. A conspiratorial wink to my family and a little blush to the Janes that keep me sane.
This project needs a second chance. They grew slower than I anticipated and I was not able to be around to properly document the work, in addition, it became cold and the fruiting bodies weren't able to really do their trick.
Mushrooms are to the biological world what Greek columns are to democracy. As Greek columns held up a space for civil discourse and social networking for a collective end, mushrooms network detritus to access and distribute the vast array of locked up nutrients that are the building blocks of all life. Used coffee grinds, cottonseed hulls, oak shavings, and oyster mushroom spawn make up the 200+pound columns. Slowly, the marbleized waste material is being taken over by snow-white mycelium of the oyster mushrooms. Eventually, the fruiting bodies pop out of the top mimicking a Corinthian style column. This project is a monument to destruction, the fruiting bodies dropping their spores to continue to network the earthen parts of the site as the column crumbles.
To note, mushrooms don't make seeds, they make spores. As the spores disperse across the landscape, they look for other spores to connect with to make what is called a mycelial mat. In this way, individual spores must work to make their magnificent community, and within that, self.