summer is coming

Blogs and social media have allowed us to talk to ourselves (but not to reach out beyond the left bubbles); they have also generated pathological behaviours and forms of subjectivity which not only generate misery and anger – they waste time and energy, our most crucial resources. Email and handhelds, meanwhile, have produced new forms of isolation and loneliness: the fact that we can receive communications from work anywhere and anytime means we are exposed to work’s order-words when we are alone, without the possibility of support from fellow workers.

In sum, the obsession with the web, its monopolisation of any idea of the new, has served capitalist realism rather than undermined it. Which does not mean, naturally, that we should abandon the web, only that we should find out how to develop a more instrumental relationship with it. Put simply, we should use it – as a means of dissemination, communication and distribution – but not live inside it. The problem is that this goes against the tendencies of handhelds. We all recognise the by now cliched image of a train carriage full of people pecking at their tiny screens, but have we really registered how miserable this really is, and how much it suits capital for these pockets of socialisation to be closed down?

Abandon hope (summer is coming) | k-punk

Calling all life coaches

Calling all Life Coaches!

Looking for hospice workers for the human species.

Applicants must submit brief (under 1 page) essay on why s/he feels qualified for the job.

Modest pay.



Picnic Research / Eating the Future

Leading up to the workshop I co-led in Minneapolis
Future Topophagies (documentation HERE),
I looked at a lot of picnic references.

You can access the material you see below in a more visible form HERE.




Materials research

We are starting The Fungus Among Us, a 7 week course at ITP.
One of my goals is to build a materials library to test

– species differences
– color (in the substrate, after the material has grown)
– sealants
– pliability
– thinness
– carvability

– natural dyes,
– varnishes,
– fibers,
– beeswax

growing in burlap – shaped

  • smeared onto burlap (blended first w/substrate)
  • impregnate burlap with just the grain spawn

use bamboo skewers to create armatures

A slurry in a 3D printer nozzle

What other alkaline substrates are useful besides coffee chaff and oat straw?
How thin can the material be?
How flexible?
What organic materials can be introduced into the substrate that extend its elasticity, density, porosity?

Can you grow more mycelium on “dead” (baked) inoculated substrate? This would allow you to repair or add new parts later

Are there protocols for this kind of r + d?

Fungus gone wild

Left these test bricks for 30 days, and came back to living edible architectural edges. They were a bit rubbery but delicious oyster mushrooms (though they look more like coral reefs):




Future Topophagies

Here are some images from a workshop I co-organized with Valentine Cadieux and Steve Dietz through the University of Minnesota and Northern Lights in Minneapolis, MN at the end of September 2014. The workshop was staged in conjunction with the show thinking making living at the Nash Gallery at the U of MN. We couldn’t have run this without the generous coordination of Christine Baeumler. And I’d have been helpless without Valentine Cadieux. It was  an exciting, fast, and very productive process. I *think* everyone had a good time and got a lot out of the experience.

We drew from a set of seven constraints, imagined future picnics based on those constraints, and at the end of day two, prototyped the food and packaging we’d use if we were to make such a public event. I will be writing up the scenarios shortly.

While these participants came from art, social science, history, ecocriticism, architecture, biology, climatology, and politics, I think you could run this workshop with a wide variety of people and publics, and turn up relevant, and resonant results.

Participants:  Stephen Sebestyen, Laura Bigger, Teréz Iacovino, Matthew Tucker, Sarah Peters, Cam Gordon, Tracey Deutsch, Karen Moss, Sandra Teitge, Aaron Dysart, Andrea Steudel, Molly Balcom Raleigh, Christine Baeumler, Kenny Blumenfeld,  Shanai Matteson, Sarah Nassif, Molly Reichert, Ryan Seibold, Bunmi Odumuye, Emily Stover, interns Andrea, Marie, and Della, and Janaki Ranpura (in spirit and email)

Images: M Zurkow, V Cadieux and Sarah Nassif.
More images by Laura Bigger here.

Future Topophagies Workshop 092014

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