The Fabric of Fungal Materiality : Intro to Myco- Materials and Pigments

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Date(s) - Thursday, April 25, 2024
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Biotech Without Borders

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An interactive lecture featuring a chaga tea tasting and a display of fungal artworks and materials for all to engage with.

Join us for an interactive lecture that will be a primer on fungal-based materials and pigments including a survey of wild mushroom varieties, recent scientific research and historical uses. The class will explore fungal materiality in its magnitudes, from fungal biology to the emerging fields in biological- arts, materials, and technology.

Class will open with a tasting of chaga tea sweetened with this season’s maple syrup to get things flowing. There will be a table display of fungal artworks and materials for all to engage with.

We will begin with a topical introduction in ethnomycology, followed by an overview of mycological basics with emphasis on materials science. We will dive into the nuances of chitin, mycelium and mushroom-based materials, including mycelium composite materials and mushroom paper. We will learn about fungal pigments through the alchemy of dyes, inks, mordants and their preparations, as well as extraordinary exudates such as latex and spalting.

We will reflect on the sensorial ecologies of fungi and how it might inform our practices and collaborations with the natural world. And conclude with critical discourse on ethics and sustainability, in the advent of the commodification of myco-materials in industry.

Questions will be encouraged throughout the presentation.

This class is perfect for those who are interested in the natural world, materials science, and art-making. No prior knowledge is needed. All ages and experience levels are welcome.


6:30 – 7:00 Welcome / Tea

7:00 – 8:30 Presentation / Q&A

About the teacher

Sneha Ganguly also known as Kali Mushrooms, is an interdisciplinary artist working through the intersection of fine art and mycology. Sneha identifies and studies wild fungi with a special interest in biological materials and pigments, and synthesizes their alchemical and chitinous properties to create handmade papers, inks, dyes and extracts. Her work explores the potential of novel mushroom- and mycelium-based materials as an artistic medium, to communicate modern mythologies on fungal science, animisms, and lessons from the wild. As part of the New York Mycological Society, Sneha founded NYC’s inaugural Fungus Festival. She is co-founder of the POC Fungi Community. And she instructs courses on mycology and mushroom cultivation for Cornell Small Farms, as well as for parks, community and cultural organizations in the metro area.

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