...video coming soon

"So little work has been done on mushrooms, compared to plants or animals. Anytime you find a mushroom, you're just as likely to find something new, as not."

I went to art school, so I am "trained" in conceptual art but I immerse myself in different creative practices each year. I am filled with life when I see experts, hobbyists and enthusiasts charging towards the unknown with genuine wonder. Gary uses mushrooms as a "motor" for everything else, mycology emerged from his need to be in nature, his background in philosophy, his interest in experimental music, John Cage, Marshall Mcluhan, and more. This is a curious mind at work.

He keeps track of the rain.
"...rain on the 14th. Rain on the 16th cloudycloudycloudysunnysunnysunnyNothing. The 24th it didn't rain. The 26th it didn't rain. The 27 there was a little bit of drizzle."

Gary has lived near Central park for over 3 decades, so he really knows what used to be where.

We found:
2. baby Oyster mushroom! "If we were fishing it'd not be a keeper...it's too small" If we left it and came back in 2 days, each nub would become a the size of this initial cluster, making a big oyster!
3. wine cap
4. slime mold (pale form of fuligo), listed as a fungi although not really categorized
5. raishi (used in japanese tea, for strength)
6. inky cap mushroom (placed in bowl and will turn into ink overnight!)

Q: Do we need to worry about toxins in the soil?
A: No, the bird watchers lobbied against pesticide. Another measure of health is that there are lots of fireflies in the summer.

Q: Can mushrooms be used as a mycoremediator?
A: The mushroom (oyster, for ex) uses a petroleum substrate for its nutrient source and breaks it down. The fungus breaks it down and uses it to grow on, so there is no trace of the toxic elements in the fruiting body (the mushrooms). The toxins are broken up into molecules, neutralizing the danger. (see Mycellium Running by Paul Stamments)

- mushrooms can grow after being cut (one grew after it was on the table and cut in half)
- paul staments innoculated his book and grew mushrooms out of that

- 2 types of cultures: prepare mushrooms with oil/fat OR steam/sauce

mushroom hunt as open source search, everyone contributes to understanding of central park
athletic hunt: running/moving/biking while hunting for mushrooms

2 types of people: slow-goers (1-step-at-a-time) and roamers (quick/large area)

Why is the title of Marshall Mcluan's book "The medium is the massage" and not "The medium is the message"?
Actually, the title was a mistake. When the book came back from the typesetter's, it had on the cover "Massage" as it still does. The title was supposed to have read "The Medium is the Message" but the typesetter had made an error. When Marshall McLuhan saw the typo he exclaimed, "Leave it alone! It's great, and right on target!" Now there are possible four readings for the last word of the title, all of them accurate: "Message" and "Mess Age," "Massage" and "Mass Age."

Views: 6

Comment by kate cahill on May 29, 2009 at 12:03am
caroline, this is a wonderful recap!

and in particular, let's keep a running transcript of all the questions and answers from the sessions with gary. it'd be interesting to look back on the succession of ideas and where the conversations drift, and perhaps how our conception of the project --mushroom as a platform for interdisciplinary exchange-- changes as our collective knowledge of actual mushrooms grows.


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