In recent months, the alternative use of mushrooms in materials research has received a lot of attention on a social and economic level.
© SciArt Kollektiv MY-CO-X, 2021 – Vera Meyer, Angely Angulo Meza, Bastian Schubert, Bertram Schmidt, Birke Weber, Carsten Pohl, Christian Schmidts, Dimitra Almpani-Lekka, Kustrim Cerimi, Lisa Stelzer, Sven Pfeiffer.
So what is it about again?
The tinyBE platform is currently making a name for itself. The initiative sees itself as a global platform that enables various actors to speculate about new, alternative and sustainable forms of life in public spaces and to make the results tangible for visitors. The current exhibition was opened on June 26th, 2021 and runs until September 26th, 2021. The exhibited works can not only be viewed from the outside, but it is also possible to spend the night there and experience sustainable living, at least for a short time.
Anyone who knows me knows that I find mushrooms fascinating. Not only because of their extraordinary ecological role in nature, but also and precisely because of the future importance of mushrooms for circular economy processes. A minor disaster for the climate is in fact the increasing demand for apartments, houses with a still rising population. The resources required for this, such as cement, sand and water, are not only scarce, they also pollute the climate. This is exactly the problem facing the SciArt collective MY-CO-X, which is also exhibiting at the tinyBE this year with its MY-CO SPACE. MY-CO-X was founded by the university professor Vera Meyer, who is also known as an artist under the name V. meer, together with the architect Sven Pfeiffer.
The MY-CO SPACE house consists of a load-bearing wooden structure clad with mushroom panels. The mushroom outer shell is grown from biological materials and is therefore completely biodegradable. Guests can retreat to approx. 20 m² or immerse themselves in their studies. The house is not designed as a closed house, but rather communicates with the outside world through its construction. The design is based on the Soviet Mir space station of the Apollo-Soyuz program.
Our planetary resources are limited. Again and again, new circular economies are discussed in order to counter the scarcity of resources. For example, in some of my older posts I addressed the uses of mushrooms in different industries. Among other things, the building materials industry, packaging industry, insulation and insulation materials, leather industry and many more. The idea behind it is that naturally grown and used raw materials are returned to the economy as if in a cycle after their lifespan has expired. The biodegradability of fungal mycelium is ideal for use in such conditions. And do you know what is the best? Nature shows us how to do it every day! Symbiotic systems between plants, animals, microorganisms and fungi are the basis for the largest circulatory system in the world. No biomass is wasted and everything finds its way back into nature.
MY-CO SPACE: Not only externally inspired by the Funga!
In my opinion, what the MY-CO-X collective represents particularly well are the connections between nature and people and between people, both on a personal and social level. This process does not stop at the outer shell, but continues above all inside: hand-woven carpets, which are colored with natural mushroom pigments (Birch Weber), take us back to a time when people were still from and above all with the Nature lived together. On the human-human level, MY-CO-X especially signals the ability of people of different professional and personal origins to work together. The transdisciplinary collaboration brought together artists, architects and fungal biotechnologists. Disciplines that otherwise have little to do with each other have found common ground here and speak a common language.
And what happens now?
The MY-CO-X mushroom house is not built to last. And that’s good. But what should be remembered is the message: The planetary problems, climate change and the scarcity of resources can only be solved globally and socially. We need more creative collectives, like MY-CO-X, who, inspired by the natural processes in nature, tackle some man-made problems and find meaningful solutions!
This project can be seen until September 26th, 2021 at tinyBE in Metzlerpark, Frankfurt am Main. If that’s not enough for one or the other individual, there are still some inspiring articles on the topics mentioned, which I have linked here.
Making of MY-CO SPACE
MY-CO SPACE – design for living together
MY-CO SPACE – The world of mushrooms
MY-CO-BUILD 2021 – 2022 & Futurium
Colors of life
Mind the Fungi – The Book
V. Meer (website)
Studio Sven Pfeiffer (website)
Applied and Molecular Biotechnology – TU Berlin (website)
Birke Weber (Instagram account)