Designing with Organisms
Art, design and bioculture
We're building an urban farm, experimenting with new forms of energy, and exploring biotechnology and eco-culture through art, community and design.
The Vegetable Monster; The Fungus of Terror!
An amazing Japanese movie from 1963, also called the Attack of the Mushroom People.
Over the years, this movie has apparently developed something of a cult audience mainly in the Japanese-American community, partly due to its bleakness and unusual themes.
The movie poster is already revealing what's the core of the story line: terror on a deserted island caused by the vegetable monsters!
The story line is quite simple: a '60s version of the TV serie Lost. Just this time the crew is all Japanese and the arrive on the deserted island on a boat and not on a airplane! The island is apparently deserted, though the castaways soon discover a beached research ship on the other side of the island. An examination of the ship, the insides of which are encrusted with a thick mold, soon reveals that it had an international crew which appear to be involved in radiation and fallout research.
The fan of Lost will agree that this sounds quite known! Well, in the Japanese version there are black smoke but another danger is coming!...
Philip Ross is an inspiring american artist that works with living organisms as means of his artistic work. In a very controlled environment, Ross manipulates, nurtures and transforms a variety of living species into sculpture. Particularly interesting for our blog is his work Pure Culture, a series of sculptural objects from living mushrooms.
Using fungus called Ganoderma lucidum, also known as Reishi or Ling Chi, Ross develop a living-art project that takes him around a year to complete, from finding and growing the mushrooms to the final result.
Are Moulds, Mushrooms and Parasites really so disgusting and unaesthetic as some people think? Let's give it a closer look...
We already saw on this blog some interesting examples of artists and designers getting particularly inspired by these microscopical fascinating organisms.
Why is that, then? Is this microcosm really depraved by any natural beauty?
These organisms can certainly remind us of monsters, aliens of any other fantastic creature; however we can't really say there is no esthetic in it.
Here follow a small collection of microscopy pictures from various websites on the net showing the natural beauty of microorganisms.
Wheat Loose Smut
Inside a seedling, parasitic smut sends out fine, thread-like filaments called hyphae that feed upon host cells. The creeping filaments form networks that invade almost all plant tissue and form an integrated structure called mycelium. Smut reproduces by forming numerous thick-walled resting spores. Upon maturity, superficial spores erupt through the confines of thin plant membranes and appear as very fine, dust-like black powder. f The minute black spores travel to other plants upon air currents or are washed into the ground to mix with seed grain during hea...
In 1997 Belgium fashion designer Martin Margiela produced his first solo exhibition, 9/4/1615 at the Boijmans van Beuningen Museum of Rotterdam.
In collaboration with a microbiologist, Margiela treated his clothes with bacterias and moulds.
Caroline Evans in her book Fashion at the edge: spectacle, modernity and deathliness associate the traces of moulds in Margiela's work to the figure of the ragpicker who fascinated Baudelaire and Benjamin hundred years before. And even more, to the more actual concept of consumerism and consumption: "Ingrid Loschek has observed that, when he destroyed his clothes with mould and bacteria, Mergiela compared the natural cycle of creation and decay to the consumer cycle of buying and discarding."
Designer Shinwei Rhoda Yen presented this natural wood garden furniture at the Stockholm Design Week 2009. The mushrooms are eating, growing and eventually dying with the furniture itself.