Today is a big day for us at Radical Mycology as we are thrilled to announce that this October we will be holding our fifth Radical Mycology Convergence, this time back in the Cascadia bioregion, and for the first time in Oregon!
The RMC is a multi-day biennial gathering of fungi-lovers and educators sharing their knowledge of – and passion for – working with fungi. Through mushroom hunts, art shows, outdoor fungal installations, and a variety of hands-on workshops, the RMC cultivates a rare space for fungi lovers to come together and share in their personal and collective experiences with fungi across all aspects of life.This year’s RMC is sure to set a new bar for this unique event and we excited to have you join us this fall.
Started in 2011 as a pipe dream between two friends – a vision of working with and learning from fungi alongside a community of peers – the Radical Mycology Convergence has since grown to be one of the most unique spaces for fungi advocates, Earth defenders, and naturalists of all stripes to explore the numerous intersections mycology forms with many of the world’s most pressing social and ecological issues.
This event is not just a weekend gathering to pass through, but an intentional moment in time, curated to help both experienced and novice mushroom lovers discover new, and ever-deeper connection to these unique organisms and the ecological webs they sustain. For us, it is more than just a party for celebrating fungi – though there is some of that too! – but a time to reflect on what’s missing from our so-often hectic and disconnected lives. Fungi remind us to integrate into our environments, to find support and allyship with those we live near and ultimately depend on. The RMC is, on many fronts, an effort to help bring some of these deeper fungal lessons to the fore, and give them space for honest reflection.
There will be a lot happening at this year’s RMC, all of which is detailed on the event’s website. Some things to highlight include:
- MUSH LOVE: A MYCOPHILIC ART SHOW. This year at the RMC we are hosting a fungi-focused art exhibition as a part of the weekend’s activities and are currently seeking submissions from artists of all media formats.
- FERTILE SUBSTRATE: A PRE-RMC COURSE. The weekend before the Convergence there will be a work party and pre-course designed to prep the land for the event. Space is very limited for this event, so be sure to sign up soon!
- APPLY TO TEACH! Are you a mushroom grower, citizen scientist, herbalist, or naturalist? Do you have a story to share about your experiences with macro or micro fungi? Or do you have a social or ecological insight you feel is absent from most mycology-related dialogues? If yes, then we want to hear from you!
- SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER! As a grassroots event, the RMC heavily relies on the support of volunteers to help the event go off without a hitch. If you’re interested in helping with a small or big role, considering signing up and helping make mycological history!
And be sure to follow along at the RMC’s Facebook event page to hear the latest announcements.
Portland-based visual artist Ross Barmache offers up a nearly hour-long music video to accompany last December’s release of the Radical Mycology Mixtape (Vol. 1). Complimenting the various genres and moods found throughout the album, Barmache pulls together hundreds of obscure fungi-based clips from the last century to overlay each track with hand-picked visuals merged, color washed, and down sampled to their mycelial core. The effect is a way of seeing fungi that is familiar, yet novel – engaged, and hypnotic. Dig it.
To stream the album or to pickup a copy of the limited edition cassette tape, check out the Radical Mycology Bandcamp.
After months in the making, the first Radical Mycology Mixtape was released earlier this week.
With artists from around the world, this unique album was created to showcase the many ways fungi inspire the audio arts – with the result being a wide-ranging, yet well-balanced blend of styles arising from the only requirement for submission: that the tracks “relate to (radical) mycology in content or spirit.”
Perhaps the most striking aspect of the mix is the spread of genres. There are singer-songwriter, I-love-mushrooms-type songs from Josh Vogeler, Michael Ching, and Skep. Lef. The classical cello from Patrick Lavoie, SP-404 sampled beat from MTLR, and ambient world sounds of Sporecaster bring in an instrumental perspective to hearing fungi. And there are several non-music-based tracks, including excerpts from Zoe Gordon’s “Curse of the Wild Morels,” a sound effect laced poem-story about alien Morel mushrooms that haunt dreams, and Ernst Karl’s 30-minute collection of mycology-based field recordings known simply as “Mycological.”
Reflecting on the influences of psychoactive fungi, Kamehameha’s “Head Up the Sky” is a psychedelic rock roller coaster through the effects of psilocybin. While in “I Bruise Blue,” OMNIII raps about similar experiences over slappy bass loops, just as Gourmet draws out in their lo-fi track “Mushrooms” and Sam Sycamore relays via shoegaze in “Gold Pavilion.”
Many of the tracks also directly align with the mycopsychology that Radical Mycology has highlighted for years. In “Firemushroom,” AGF sings about the importance of fungi in the environment over sounds sampled directly from mushrooms. Radical Fun Time’s “Radical Mycology Time” is a crust punk celebration of the autonomy found in mushroom hunting and reconnecting with nature. “Very Same Moon” by Connor Albers discusses the intelligence of mycelium in relation to being connected to land, while River Dweller’s “Holy Karyogamy” provides a multi-layered reflection on impending ecological disasters. Meanwhile, multiple snippets from Emji Spero’s poetry book-turned-album “almost any shit will do” are spread throughout the mixtape, providing numerous comparisons between fungal forms and the growth of radical social movements.
Finally, there are the songs that are in a class of their own: Glitter Wizard’s glam/stoner rock tale of corpses communicating via mycelium, cyberboy666 & user43368831’s retelling of a Derek Mahon poem (over mushroom-sampled sounds), Mamoun Nukumanu’s blissed out rap “Helix Trees,” and Baba and the Yagas’ ballad “Cordyceps.” In all of these we find a unique reflection on the influences and importance of fungi in our lives – now, and in the hereafter.
To download the full album or to pickup a copy of the limited edition cassette tape, check out the Radical Mycology Bandcamp.
Mush love to all the artists!
Screening of music videos and narratives from the mixtape:
- Two mushooms KNOCKING (Australia)
- See Through Machine (Providence, RI)
- The Curse of the Wild Morels (Ontario, Canada)
- How Doth the CrocodileDJing by Northern Draw
VJing by Ross Barmache
The event will take place at The Know (3728 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97232). See the Facebook event page here.
Photo by Madeline Cass.
Send in your song demo or audio performance to the Radical Mycology Mixtape Project!
Despite the fact that millions of people around the world hold a strong passion for mycology, there surprisingly isn’t much music that directly relates to the topic. Apart from the requisite fungally-themed electronic music albums and occasional country-westernesque mushroom hunting ballad, you’d be hard pressed to find a slamming spore liberation dance jam, mycoremediation battle rap, or myceliated pop-punk chorus. What gives?
At Radical Mycology, we’ve lamented this fact for years and have worked to draw some works out of the soil and wood at each Radical Mycology Convergence’s Saturday night Talent Showcase. Though always good, the lineup at the 2016 RMC’s Showcase was particularly potent, leading to the realization that it was time to finally record some of the world’s underground mycoartists and create a vital resource for the spread of the 21st century’s neo-ethnomycological movement.
So, from now until August 1, 2017, Radical Mycology will be accepting demos for consideration from all music genre and audio performance types – with the only filter being that the piece should relate to or be inspired by (radical) mycology in some manner. Radical Mycology will then produce and release the final album mid-December as a donation-based download and limited edition cassette.
Want to get involved or just know more? Check out all the details here.
Starting this July, Peter McCoy will be hitting the road to leading several 20-hour Mushroom Cultivation & Application Courses across the U.S. Peter has been teaching about mushroom cultivation for over 10 years and as each year passes, this Course only gets more robust, thorough, and immersive.
If you’ve been thinking of getting into mushroom growing, or of taking your practice in the art to the next level, this Course will leave you well equipped to advance and evolve your work with fungi for years to come. Confirmed locations and dates are listed below, each with more information on what to expect.
Soil Fungi Master Class
This August, Peter will also be joined by soil, compost, and bioremediation expert Nance Klehm in Chicago, Illinois for an unprecedented 7-day Master Class on the many functions of fungi in soil systems. Offering a skillset found nowhere else in the world, this Course will provide any food, fungi, and Earth lover with insights and practices for managing landscapes and designing holistic environments through the often overlooked lens of these hidden fungi. Starting with the ecology and forms of soil fungi, this Master Class will take participants through all the skills needed to identify, assess, isolate, cultivate, and apply many types of soil fungi in any habitat, both disturbed and intact. For more information, click the image below.
This month, Peter McCoy and Radical Mycology are being featured in an international art-ecology exhibition at Le Commun in Geneva, Switzerland as a part of a month-long exhibition series entitled La Sémiosphère du Commun.
Over the course of three weeks, Peter held several workshops and presentations on his unique approach to working with and teaching about fungi and also worked in collaboration with filmmaker Marion Neumann and artist collaboratory Utopiana founder Anna Barseghian to design several installation components that were inspired by ideas presented in Peter’s book. Though the project just opened the other day, it has already some great local press in a few places so far. For all the details, check the video and images below and see the event’s full description at the bottom.
The impetus behind the whole exhibition series was to remediate the wooden bricks that make up the floor of the gallery. After denial from the government (which owns the building), the idea spawned into a larger series of questions about how to engage with fungi and other organisms to not just heal the environment, but learn from and recognize our relationship to it.
The five main components were a mini-mushroom lab where liquid inoculum (culture) and spawn are produced, a mock oil spill, mycorediation of household waste, mycorediation of used cigarette filters, mycorediation of “bricks,” and a fruiting environment for mushroom growing. Click on the image for the full resolution panorama.
In the mushroom lab, grains were inoculated on three separate dates, each 3 days apart, to demonstrate how quickly mushroom mycelium grows.
Following up on Peter’s novel approach to growing mushrooms on cigarette filters to degrade the chemicals they contain, part of the workshop series taught participants how to repeat the methodology Peter developed at home.
Dozens of small vials were made.
Oil-soaked cardboard mixed with used coffee grounds, and mushroom mycelium. Over the coming weeks, the mycelium will digest the chemicals into simpler and (likely) less-toxic byproducts.
Mimicking an oil spill, used motor oil was mixed with soil to then be remedaited by a mushrooms (the Pearl Oyster [Pleurotus ostreatus]). Pasteurized straw and mushroom mycelium were added and the timer set to see how long it would take for the mushroom to take over the substrate.
There were a ton of other amazing projects and exhibits as a part of the exhibition. Here, an open-source theramin is hooked up to pads of moss from various polluted sites, with their differing conductivity being translated into down sampled frequency generators.
An employee from CERN demonstrated his hand-made emission detector hooked up to an iPad. As electrons, alpha, beta, or gamma particles are detected, the signal is translated into an audio signal with the Korg synthesizer (upper right).
Soil and water cultures from a lake in Romania polluted by a nearby aluminum processing facility.
The project entitled « The Semiosphere of the Commun » emerges from the very space of Le Commun. We learned that in 2006 the Building Services entrusted the engineering-environment-safety company Ecoservices SA to carry out tests for pollutants potentially present at the BAC. In parallel, the STEB (Service de toxicologie de L’environnement bâti du Canton de Genève – the Service of Toxicology Service of the Built Environment, Geneva Canton) measured the quality of air in a number of spaces of the building. The laboratories tested the samples taken from the floors and the false ceilings for presence of heavy metals, PAHs (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons) and asbestos, and found an important level of hydrocarbon pollution in all surface samples taken from the wooden and screed floors, dating back and inherited from the industrial period of the building. The PAHs were also present and even released in more or less important quantities depending on temperature variations. Heavy metals were occasionally present in excess. The tests showed presence of asbestos in the glue used to fix the wooden floors on the ground floor as well as in the ceiling panels. The detected asbestos is non-porous and does not present a health hazard as long as it remains untouched. In conclusion, Ecoservices SA considers the site to be contaminated, but without danger for medium term occupants.
In its activities Utopiana is interested in questions and alternative methods of decontamination. In 2015 and as an interventionist artistic gesture, we submitted an in situ project to the Geneva authorities, which consisted in the partial decontamination of the floor of Le Commun by a remedial action thanks to mushrooms and phytomining.
We consider this situation to be an opportunity to enlarge the fields of knowledge so as to address more deeply the question of the environment. In fact, we want to conceive differently the very idea of the environment (Umwelt) so that it integrates different theoretical, institutional, and political factors and takes into account various pragmatic engagements.
Other than the knowledge of ecological processes, the solution to these problems also requires understanding of human behaviour because the semiotic aspects of the human-nature relationships that are important in this context and in others are not yet sufficiently understood or considered.
The scaffold that has been erected from the space of Le Commun presents itself as a “relational biosphere” which attempts to weave new frames uniting “two cultures”: the humanities and the arts on the one hand, and the technical and natural sciences on the other. Or, more generally – the union of the cultural fields and those dealing with natural phenomena. In order for us to understand and to act in the current ecological situation, we propose to consider human culture as a sphere of continuous interplay of signs – as a semiosphere, as an open entity which constantly influences and is being influenced – and to underline the importance of the processes of symbiosis at the interior and exterior limits of this semiosphere. Just as much as the biosphere is necessary for the existence of different terrestrial species, the semiosphere precedes the existence of meanings that populate it. Thus, Le Commun interlocks the real, physical space and the social, virtual one.
We must understand the similar dynamics that manifest themselves on all levels of the living (semiosphere, biosphere, Umwelt) in order to understand the rupture that man has created in his environment through the production and accumulations of materials that no longer partake in the recycling of elements of our ecosystem.
The concept of the semiosphere is considered in its relational capacity for a future of the ecology of thought, of subjectivity, of desire, of power, of affect – in short, of modes of existence.
Peter McCoy and Radical Mycology were recently featured in an article on the many prospects of mycology over at Salon.com. Topics touched on include the infancy of mycology, the need to promote the many non-psychoactive properties of fungi, mycoremediation, and how fungi will recolonize the world long after humans have gone. Dig it.
With the end of year we wish to say our thanks for the many highlights of the past 12 months. This year was a big one for Radical Mycology. February saw the birth of the book Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy and April followed up with a few videos to help condense key points from the text—two efforts we hope will excel the growth of myco-literacy currently developing around the world. Following on the book’s many positive responses, Peter took the book on tour across the U.S. during the summer and fall, making over 45 stops at a range of independent books stores, non-profits, community gardens, infoshops, galleries, art archives, and festivals.
(Left) Peter at Interference Archive, a Brooklyn-based depository for the art of social movements.
(Right) Installing a mushroom garden in Washington, D.C. as part of a 20-hour
Mushroom Cultivation & Application Course.
As the mushroom season took its turn of the year, October marked our fourth and most successful Radical Mycology Convergence, this time in Wingdale, NY. Despite being the first time the event made its way to the East coast, over 400 people were in attendance, making this year’s RMC the largest to date. As with every prior RMCs, all who came camped together, learned together, worked together, and, in a myriad of ways, fostered a unique space to share their connection to the lands we inhabit as well as to the fifth kingdom that fills their innumerable niches and recesses.
(Left) Volunteers help prepare the land at Fertile Substrate, a pre-RMC work-n-learn party.
(Right) Nance Klehm on Reading the Landscape for patterns of disturbance at the 2016 RMC.
The land hosting the RMC was also an amazing backdrop to the event. Set on a 120-acre homestead bordering the Appalachian Trail and three hills of mushroom-rich mixed forests, attendees found fungi poppin’ all weekend. Maitake, Chicken of the Woods, and various Laccaria and edible Boletus species were well represented, as were an array of conks, lichens, and resupinate fungi.
Morning circle at the RMC (Credit: Michael Place).
On the info front, this year’s RMC took the myco knowledge offered to a whole other level. As impromptu forays filled the woods, the dense schedule offered some pretty killer workshops and discussions, including many mycoremediation and mushroom cultivation focused talks. In between, new friendships were forged among the many passionate and incredibly knowledgeable mycophiles, as demonstrated at the steadily laughter- and rap-filled talent show on Saturday night. And at night massive bonfires raged late, filling the air with warmth, kinship, and stories of epic fungi recently found or long since gone.
Dinner crew on duty. Philip shares his passion in the Amadou.
On the final day, as with all RMCs, we closed by working to enrich the land with various fungal partnerships and earth repair practices. Erosion-mitigating and nutrient load-reducing plants were planted along sensitive waterways, while various mushroom gardens were installed across the property.
Installing a four-species mushroom garden on the final day of the RMC.
As the year winds down, the Radical Mycology Collective is taking some time to reflect as we proceed into an ever-brighter fungal future. Next year is sure to bring some big changes and new projects to the fore for us. But for now, we wish to give our deepest gratitude to all those who made this year one of our most inspirational yet.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone that helped organize, show up, throw down, support, donate, cook, serve, share, and grow with us and the Radical Mycology movement this year. A special HUGE HUGE thank you goes to this year’s presenters: Alanna Burns, Zaac Chaves, Cornelia Cho, Willie Crosby, Samuel David, Steve Gabriel, Alexander Jones, Erwin Karl, Fern Katz, Scott Kellogg, Nance Klehm, Elli Mazeres, John Michelotti, Lupo Passero, William Padilla-Brown, Jason Scott, Danielle Stevenson, Olga Tzogas, Chris Wright, Sue Van Hook, Roo Vandegrift, and Marina Zurkow, as well as to the amazing folks in the Seeds of Peace Collective, who did all the cooking at the RMC this year.
In return, and as a belated Solstice gift to everyone, we’ve made a playlist of the workshop videos from the 2014 RMC—a taste of the videos we have in the editing queue from this year’s RMC.
Enjoy and mush love,
The RM Collective
The schedule for the 2016 Radical Mycology Convergence has been announced! This year the Convergence is leveling up in a number of ways. For the first time we are on the East Coast. We are going a full 5 days instead of 4. And on the Saturday night of the Convergence we will be hosting an Myco Art Gallery with international submissions (the Gallery is still open for submissions here).
The confirmed workshops for this year’s RMC are right in line with these evolutionary leaps. There are some incredible myco- and bioremediation talks, a range of ethnomycological presentations, and some amazing fungal ecology talks.
Want to help the RMC?
We rely on support from attendees to make the RMC a success. You can help add to this grassroots effort in a variety of ways. Consider registering to volunteer here. Or join the Pre-RMC work party, Fertile Substrate, here. Or simply bring some food or raffle item donations. Every hyphal addition to our support web helps this event’s network grow deeper and stronger. Whatever you can do to add to this underground effort is greatly appreciated!