Mushrooms: the art, design and future of fungi
Yeah Hello and welcome to Monaco and culture with me bound if I say mushrooms what did you think hap- taken straight into the woods. Maybe Rambuteau Oh dinner. Last night it might conjure up images of plump toadstools in fairy tales or you might be transported to some psychedelic memories from your youth. Oh yes today. It's clear that mushrooms of a plenty of connotations and these seem to change wherever you are in the world so it's easy to see why they've been a focal point for artists throughout the ages. This is the curator and regular regular voice on this show. Francesca Kevin decided to dedicate an entire exhibition to mushrooms mushrooms. The design and future of fungi. It's just opened Somerset Somerset. House in London. It's a multimedia. Show that venture from side. Tom Lead a bit trix pasta to cost and Holler to John Cage and shows the breadth and influence this vital. Fungi has had on art music and performance throughout time an around the clock. Basically I'm a reproductive organ on a mushroom fungus. I'm part of a bigger organism and isn't that is mostly underground. Francesca congratulations on the show with standing in front of the boilerplate for it designed by Pentagram. Graham it's definitely illegible but definitely unusual. It may be sums up the exhibition. In fact it certainly is the title of it. Tell us what this is and what it says I'm well the says is mushrooms. Er Design and future. Fungi and Pentagram. Actually were to design a front that grew algorithm it. CLE- echoing the way. Hey that mushrooms grow so in the final room. You can actually doesn't interactive program so you can type in any word and then see it grow into mushroom foam. But they three D. printed did typefaces and also throughout the exhibition. You'll see a little weird mushroom growths popping up like fungi around the three traces. How long have you been a Michael or Mike? Mike Ho- file. I should say I would never call myself and my college I'm say. Let's say a cultural entrusted in my college. I'm much more interested in how autism warriors has been so drawn doing one single subject for me. That's fascinating or how you can see the breadth of different mediums simply through some single object. So that's really great for me but then I also just kept looking at more you discover about mushrooms. The facts are so mind blowing that it kind of changes your entire perception of you. You humanity philosophy relationship to the world. You know simple things like that. Perhaps some minor themes some minor themes running through this exhibition. Then ask asking the question of where did you get the the idea from in the first place. We mushrooms are kind of that cones for various things. But it kind of sums figures of fun. You seem to be wanting to redress that balance I mean I love a bit of playfulness. I will say that a lot of the expeditions. I've done in the past of usually descended in one way or another either the remnants of the counter coaches influence on contemporary life or on technology and. I think mushrooms kind of do both. They're almost like a metaphor metaphor for. Let's save a period of psychedelic but like the counterculture which is real moment. Where politics and aesthetics were intertwined? Mushrooms are a perfect example of that and and also they are a form of technology. The blockchain Bitcoin were based on the structures of my Salihu. So I think that was also really fundamental but my first gateway mushroom like many of do things was for my news. My Sister Sean Gavin. Who We did a show Monaco with free and she started making these crazy? anthropomorphic and architectural landscapes escapes with mushrooms and I kept seeing mushrooms everywhere. Particularly Jeremy Shaw was probably my second mushroom. But it's it's the stage now that you could gateway you can google will any single artist's name and the word mushroom and you'd be amazed at the variety of where I come on and there's all sorts of different media in in your show. Here people might be able to hear in the background around David Fester and this is a a witty ribot sort of Michael logical view. I Suppose Scientific View Mushrooms what should treat go and get a little bit of David fences five. This is a video work in moments collection. Some people consider my kind to be sacred. I have this toxin that when taking it produces this really unique experience a lot of people where they this is the as of right mushroom explaining the history of his Jenness to this about this. It's a man dressed as a fly. Garrick Eric psychedelic mushroom. Basically sort of buried in the ground with a little white headed little red hat describing how he managed. He sees mushrooms which is really fun. And this is the thing. So he mentioned Super Mario Land and all these sorts of things he is that sort of classic red topped mushroom with the white spots on it. The kind of what we call the toadstools. This feels like this is an icon POPs up in popular culture drug coach all sorts of different things. You trace the history back to the kind of demon days of mushrooms. It's kind of medieval bogeyman. Status as well I mean actually the fly garrick relationship in particular. The red with a white spots really comes out of of an eighteenth century book that was describing shamanic practices where people would drink reindeer urine and ended up getting getting bit into popular culture but it was really alice in wonderland and that kind of mid nineteenth century ideas around like illustrations and childhood hood kind of shifted things around. But yeah I mean the fly Garrett Quiz almost. It's almost like most poppy mushroom we can get. Yeah I suppose so. Be Studying and then we see down. `and behind this cost Holloway. which is a exclusive brand of German suitcase with some of these flying a barracks spinning on their axis in here like Kinda like to read Books Spinning Ballerina Judiciary Books cussing holders gotten interesting background as well Yup Colston Hall? has done a lot of work with mushrooms in particular psychedelic mushrooms. He did a hometown show with book. Called Soma looking at the history stree- particular Siberian dramatic practices and the kind of culture and history of fly Garrick. But he's also done huge installations with mushrooms spinning upside down and room. So there's a great one the fun that's any product so this is like a mini version. But it's it's basically spinning solar-powered like powered mushrooms. It's incredibly engaging in a flight case or the Mushrooms Compact up and you flip them up China till noon and they start spinning perfectly practical usable multifaceted artwork. Then you can put it on wheels and take it around the world. Yes if you want to take a really expensive kinetic art work around with you anywhere and just shove it under a light start spinning. I'm just looking at across his first room here. I'm looking across sites warmly drawings we go. Patrick Beautiful Beatrix Potter drawings behind us as well are they drawing on the same idea of the mushroom or are they kind of riffing on different qualities different atmospheres the mushroom kind of can providers typically Beatrix came from amateur. Botany background so she was really interested from a very young age. I think some of these done in her early twenties in looking at nature from like kind of scientific perspective and this is before she used things like Peter Rabbit to form a narrative about that relationship to nature she even wrote scientific papers depots about mushrooms from amateur level. Recycle them ladies were created in Nineteen seventy-two this is in addition of Prince but they're really multimedia drawings said layered and I think he was probably much more influenced by. Let's post psychedelic experience. And maybe John Cage entrusted mushrooms and that whole rise it really happened after the nineteen fifty seven Kevin Publication in life magazine which we also have on show. Let's have a look. I'm so we're looking at Gloucester train in in the middle of the room and this kind of right into the kind of heady days. You've got hallucinogens. And shamanism that life magazine you mentioned this counterculture becomes pop culture. I mean this when and when George Valentine Watson published their article in life magazine in Nineteen fifty seven. That was the first time anyone had documented people using mushrooms in Mexican Mexican religious practices and it was first time that ever was published. So actually this is almost like the gateway this is zero contemporary mushroom and their interest in research and mushrooms changed. Everyone's perception completely. It was actually his sort of communication with Mitt specialists that led to the creation of LS. Stay but they really really looked at mushrooms in its representation. That some beautiful books. These teeth between are put together by Donlon book which is a great book shop on Broadway Market in East London and that really looks like it's very influential for contemporary artists. So this between is much focusing on. Let's say the Mesoamerican that we the second vitrine which is looking more at like take counterculture and center. We have a selection of different rations of Allison Wonderland and the iconography of the mushroom in this. I haven't ah is to do with natural history there. Is this book hallucinogens. In Chambers which looks like something Zapotec or massive tech something. This is traditional no natural. History stuff. We're looking with this before the kind of bugged out I did. This is actually probably drawing most on. Let's say precolonial Central and South American use mushrooms and when the when the colonial invaders particularly the Spanish came in kind of destroyed every single mushrooms done because mushrooms are very intertwined with religious which is practices. Then it's there's only a few mushroom stones existing now. We have a couple of mushroom stones in the other room. But yeah that's sort of. Let's say the Mesoamerican beginning as I say from the beginning we kind of tracing mushrooms kind of looked like go and look at the end wolf and some of the more psychedelic applications is. Is there a particular type of mushroom that illustrators have been interested. I mean this room really for me is kind of demonstrating the revival of interests so this is very much showing mushrooms. Obviously throughout all the representation of mushrooms. Fly a garrick is the most popular but like we're in front of a big installation by Papa. He collected mushrooms stamps over ten years. We've got everything from Afghanistan to Sim. Bob Way it's actually fascinating. How many stumps were created with different varieties of mushrooms in Africa? In the West indies in Asia. Like I found that really interesting. So for me it's really interesting also seeing different kinds of illustration and different ways people using it but fly garrick is still always going to be. The most popular mushroom is the classic. I'm what about different cultures. Ideas Mushrooms talks about the native Mexican idea of mushrooms as something should to do shame in his And finding a sort of in a in a self on Indian attorney does that exist in any other of a coach. I'm it's really interesting. I mean Siberia and obviously they had a great shamanic history of Russian. General had a much more positive engagement with mushrooms. Asia had totally different relationships mushrooms. That could almost be a second show because China has a much longer positive. Relationships say the health benefits of Mushrooms or the variety of mushrooms extremes that are eaten in the Far East is totally different. I think the mushroom industry for food internationally as a forty two billion dollar industry in a lot of that is definitely coming the the more exciting mushrooms that say is out of the Far East but then there's a great younger Michael Logistical Darren Springer. Who's been doing research into African relationships to you particularly psychedelic plants and mushrooms and has found some oral history? That's actually where everything originated from which is brilliant. We're going to skip plus aside Trombley's. He's a beautiful we're going to go into the second. Francesca so we are in the second second room. Now Francesca What have you Installed in the fireplace here so we have a rug that was made on a mountainside in Morocco by PECs in many who are on Australian collective who originally come from a fashion background beneath or two facsimile mushroom stones I RCA Graduate Cold Andrey Zucchini and to the left of that. We have a very registering by Takashi Murakami which was the basis of a lot of his paintings of these kind of psychedelic mushroom characters. And just this quickly on the Murakami it such a motif that well known artists. What do they what does that kind of come? We'll put. We have any clear weather I might come from but maybe can lettuce. I mean it definitely comes from after the mushroom Mrs like Post Nuclear Characters Little mutant mushrooms. That are why but also same time play with this idea of nature nature being destroyed and mutant so it's a care. I'm meeting classic Japanese painting. We're going over here to what almost wants to be a Diorama. These very natural history perfect models of mushrooms. These somewhere between art works and simple models. I I know but they also made so interesting ways to combat and she actually makes pappy match and then uses embroidery thread. So they're actually somewhere closer Waleed to kind of sculptural style. She probably shows more places like Chelsea flower show so it's very particular. She's very into two representing very specific mushrooms. But I wanted to have something something that touches on that kind of scientific organization in fact you'll see throughout the entire show those facts around the room and almost these linear lines pentagram included. That made you get feel like it's almost like we're stepping into a book about a mushroom. And also we kind of stepping down into the down into the undergrowth. We're learning how mushrooms was grow. I remember when you came onto the show last time you talked about some huge mega mushroom onto the growing under the ground. I forget where it was to update on that while you're here It's in the in the north of Oregon. I think so the Pacific northwest and it was. I think it's almost three thousand acres lodge and between two thousand five hundred hundred and eight thousand years old. They've been doing new research that finding out mushrooms and fossils that are even more millions of years ago. I mean it's so fascinating even in this room which is just dedicated Silas Saban does. They've discovered that was actually between twenty ten twenty million years ago and the way it spreads between different mushrooms. Mushrooms have multiple multiple different kinds of sexes and fuse together to reproduce so some other mushroom has a trait that they liked That's useful off fused with you and then take it and reproduce from which is fascinating beautiful fusion. It's happening all over this show in the middle of the second room. You've got three video screens facing each other. The green and the this looks like a kind of the sort of I. Guess PSYCHEDELIC representation. Mushrooms which are Wednesday. I've been looking for the show but we certainly let refound it hit while my I think. Yes finally this is a surround sound video work so actually if you're in the middle of it the sound coming all of that but it was made in Mike almost like a surround sound film. And it's by Adam firm alway shows people don't sing. It's almost like a queer element and you've seen mushrooms troon kind of growing out of the world that kind of ideas around ecstasy an abandoned that come with it the idea which again mushrooms of really become a metaphor for this idea of freedom cultural freedom in some way. How did that happen? I mean that's where the county coach went. Pop that's the kind of late fifties sixties thing. Yeah I think it sort of the interesting information around. Mushrooms came payment of very interesting moment. It came into moment. That was showing this kind of desire to have this huge upheaval and then maybe looking at ideas of both nature and history may be also looking within the self that really emerged in the nineteen sixties. So I'm thinking like Adam Curtis is century was self and that kind of revival of looking within our own minds and I think mushrooms came at that particular moment but I think it's particularly in the past five years ten years that we're really seeing artists. Engage her that seriously. I can see Shawna Kevin's work across the room here. You mentioned sureness workers kind of one of the Picking off points for your interesting mushrooms and a whole. Let's look at that one for its Phallic Mushrooms. They're very large Phallic mushrooms which he's turned into almost like highrise buildings. Sounds like art deco buildings and I loved the idea that I told me nursery rhyme the old woman who lived in a shoe. I like the idea that you could live in a mushroom and then she also developed a couple of this other series which is more of. Let's say mushroom in child or mindfulness. The the main image. They chose which I didn't choose but they chose as for the expression is mindful mushroom which almost looks like a meditating mushroom little character mushroom is sort of a delicate creature uh same Cisco female. Feminine qualities is a thoughtful interior mushroom sheets. Interesting little people refer to mushrooms as Phallic maybe because because of the shape but insurance work. You're also seeing very feminist sort of almost nurturing alternative. I think that's what's so interesting about mushrooms as a form that they can. Let's say non gendered and they also lend themselves to this idea of domestic as oppose or the kind of built environment because that's perfect structures structures. Do you trust I guess the answer this question. Do you trust an organism that can grow in the dark over night and becomes of a three plus. I mean I feel okay about it because it's a bit like a flower. I mean what we know is. Mushrooms are just the flowering headset disseminate spores. The real thing is the stuff underground. That's probably the scariest area. But what's great about the Thaad Rim of the show is really seeing the uses of the organism mice helium something functional and positive that actually can have a positive effect like you can make breaks works out of it. You can make clothes out of I find this. You make furniture out of it and I find that really amazing well. Let's hope for us to the third room in the chef Chaska and we on the mushroom lamp shades. In this third the fun of the of the show what can we around us. Okay so this is really devoted to. Let's say the future thinking around mushrooms. So we've got design objects by Specimen Cox Velocity refer to. We've we've got shoes by Christo pitas and clothing by Aniello Nick. Then we also have a film Jason Evans which was during Analyses Book. Documenting People Picking Mushrooms and Pacific Northwest. And we have a crazy Bana. Google deep brush mushroom and at the center of the room. MM-HMM WE HAVE J. rimless burial suit so as an ecological way of dying instead of leaking all the toxins and our body into the earth. This actually turns us into mushrooms. uh-huh and then we have our Pentagram typeface if you'd like type in your name growing mushroom this do this experiment that while I tried to say this is hype it into an IPAD. So she'll do the full name and you'll see it starts growing up. This is incredible. I mean it's the design of this is wonderful and every single time you type it in. It will come in a slightly different way in the same way that no mushroom is exactly the same. I'm this is quite an incredible thing. So how did you say just for this specific part Pentagram guest design agency. What was the kickoff for this did you? Did you like to do something Michael Logic. Who in a phone? I told them about the concept of the show. And they took it from there. And they worked with a couple Blah Blah China's counterpoint. Ten Rosie emory to develop this kind of growing form and they had interactive designers. Like actually make it into this sort of computer program that you play With but I love it. It's almost constant growing something that's technological but very organic and I think that's a great metaphor for what the room is about. We're using technology to to think about how we can engage in a more positive way with nature as opposed to just relying on technology and exploiting nature. Do you think that commercials. Br Bad press away in sort of in the seventies and eighties being purely a kind of period kind of drug application. Do you think that's been washed away. Now that we see this sort of health benefits we see the kind of models almost as some idea of sort of social cohesion away. That people could be if people were a little bit more more Michael Logic. Yeah they highlight. How important is to live symbiotically with the world? They are like they exist with tree roots. They make trees grow grow. Better they are totally intertwined with many plants roots. I mean this is so fascinating for me but I I think what I really want to make clear in the show as much to mushrooms beyond beyond the obvious psychedelic reference. That People Nudge Nudge Wink wink. Thank of that actually. Mushrooms are kind of a metaphor for so many other different aspects that they have have practical applications but also can really make people engage with art philosophy science in a different way we end in the gift shop as exhibitions exhibitions. must on this. We wouldn't know me look at the gift show in a program but you can some interesting collaborations you've got. I mean I can a graphic ethic shape this good stuff to be had in the final of this show. I mean this one final artwork which is Japanese flag mushroom inspired by post world. War You too clothing customization by Daniel David Freeman. And then yes. We have some prints we have almost every single thing. You possibly want with a mushroom Sri moment as well as a specific collaboration with origins. You've got one of the artists. Alex Morrison to do packaging on their mushroom. Facial care because Dr Vile is very very well-known nature path in America is doing special event sponsored by origins on the sixth of February. So yes there's a unit mushroom facials in their little spat book a little mushroom Keisha in the back room but the trump is fun and just finally there is a point where the as you said. There is a sort of a smirk about the idea of mushrooms because of their kind kind of call Tunis shape and because of those drug associations in the sixties and stuff this show that recognizes that smirk. Obviously I I guess the intention is to go beyond. I think once you start actually looking at the facts around Australia and seeing how interesting they all then you kind of those so much more to them beyond the PSYCHEDELIC. I didn't want to do a show just about people playing with their own minds. I actually wanted to show that really draws on. How important is that? We address relationship to nature like we're at this moment of pure climate crisis and anything that makes people a think about that again or be go to an exhibition that they would never have gone to otherwise his and realize that isn't scary and can be very engaging then. I think that's a really positive contribution. That was fun. Chaska Gavin curator of mushrooms. The Art Design and future fungi which is on now in the terrace rooms. Some house until twenty sixth of April This episode of Monaco Coach was of course produced by Holly Fischer an IBM rubberband. We'll be back at the same time next week to talk about the South Korean oscar-hopeful parasite but for the time being thanks.