Matilda Mulder

100 Years of Learning

Mycelium Towers as Guides for Collective Learning and R-Evolution


Building Empathic Pigeon Units test workshop 2021.12.03 - Photo Credits: Caroline Aravicius

A Century-long Masterclass

During the Summer of 2020, Mediamatic joined forces with artist Arne Hendriks to explore the possibilities of using mycelium waste as a building material for constructing towers. Month after month, a diverse range of towers have sprouted up around the bustling Mediamatic Biotoop. As the 100 Years of Learning Masterclass enters its fourth year, we continue to explore how the interface with mycelium-waste-pigeon-towers can open up new pathways and possibly help us re-educate our minds in environmentally challenging times. People are invited to join us in the building process and to discuss what may be learned from such bizarre architectural entities. 

The towers who host many beings reveal the intricacies of living cycles and the value of cooperation and co-existence. The 100 Years of Learning Masterclass recognizes the profound wisdom other species possess and aims to channel this understanding into the realm of acting. The main goal is to equip participants to become better actors in the increasingly challenging times we live in. We welcome and look forward to participants with passion, curiosity and a hint of grumpy-optimism. The masterclass will change throughout time. You are very welcome to pitch ideas and take initiative for projects and topics within the masterclass community. 

Time in the Art of Patience

The encounter with the towers becomes a catalyst for change in the Masterclass, beginning with the acknowledgment that the existing relationships entertained with other-than-humans are strongly dysfunctional and governed by inequality. The masterclass centers on embracing patience as a fundamental virtue in effectively responding to this problematic. A long-term solution is hence embraced, one that instead of seeking instant success and recognition, takes the time to observe and reflect on the ever-changing living assemblages. Strategic plans encompassing decades, if not centuries, are indeed necessary to facilitate the transition to more balanced ways of relationality. The art of acting demands a deep level of understanding, which can only be achieved through patience.

The cultural dimension of change

By observing how the mycelium, pigeons and many small insects communicate and thrive, we leave room for surprise and new learning, without attempting to exercise control. We believe that by storing such kind of knowledge we can herald a shift in perspective that would lead to a behavioral change in the interface with the other. Our efforts want to extend beyond political actions and delve deeply into the realm of culture. Culture shapes our values, beliefs, and behaviors, influencing how we interact with the environment. By addressing the cultural crisis that has led to the exploitation and denigration of other-than-humans, we can foster a collective consciousness that values ecological harmony. This awareness-building process is a long-term endeavor that can potentially mold societal attitudes and values, therefore assisting in the formation of resilient communities that can weather future challenges.