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Mycelium Mimetics

Exploring the Agency of Mycelium as a Contributor to the Artistic and Design Processes

Mycelium Mimetics is a creative exploration of mycelium networks and their potential applications in art and design. Nature, through billions of years of evolution, has masterfully optimized countless systems and organisms from which we can draw inspiration. By observing mycelium, the root-like structure of fungi composed of a network of hair-like filaments called hyphae, we can apply its natural intelligence to art and design applications as we seek to produce forms, solve problems, or optimize outcomes. Our efforts will demonstrate that mycelium can be leveraged not just as an idle material, but as something we can learn from and work with. By creating a “dialogue” between humans and fungi, we can study the growth pathways, nutrients, and various fibers in which different strains of mycelium thrive, exemplifying mycelium’s ability to replace unsustainable materials in art and design at an increased scale and scope. We propose that a novel way of exploring mycelium mimetics can be achieved by growing mycelium on roving, or long tendrils, of materials including hemp, soybean, jute, and wool. Knitting, weaving, and draping these fibers in different formations provides a net for the mycelium to branch out in different densities and across void spaces. Artistic material exploration of mycelium allows the organism to express itself in collaboration with the human artists and designers, and by applying biomimetics to the resulting artifacts, they can serve to inspire audiences and help them understand both the nature of mycelium and its potential to act in symbiosis with humans as a sustainable material.