Fungal Economics and Micro-Organisms in Design

Biotalk 00 - with William Myers and Toby Kiers

4 Dec 2013

Fungal economics and micro-organisms in design
In an evening filled with talks, music and animation, we have explored how we can use fungi in order to attain a more bio-based economy. In this evening two experts have tickled your imagination about fungal economics and using micro-organisms in design.


Slime mold - Slime mold that we have been growing in the lab. This slime mold is part of the Mold Fight installation in the Paddestoelen Paradijs exhibition. Simone Schoutens

With: Antal Ruhl


Mycelium-based packaging material - Made from seed husks and mycelium (fungi roots). Similar to foams (for instance Styrofoam), but eco-friendly and made of natural materials. Fungi are the new plastic! Govert de Jong

William Myers

William Myers, writer, curator and bio-designer, will talk about the next step beyond biology-inspired approaches to design: incorporating (living) organisms in design. Myers curated the biodesign exhibition in 'Het Nieuwe Insitituut' in Rotterdam. By making use of nature, we can improve the ecological performance of the objects around us. From architecture to advertising, from concrete to clothing, incorporating living organisms into our designs will enhance the function of the materials we create. With music by the Marks Brothers.

Toby Kiers

In the dark, underground, plants and fungi form complex networks of trade, swapping nutrients and sugars. Both partners ‘play the market’, resulting in a stable, equitable economic system that has persisted for some 470 million years. Toby Kiers, associate professor of Evolutionary Biology at VU University Amsterdam, will show how we can learn from plants and fungi as pioneers of the free market economy. She will introduce us to the most abundant partnership on Earth: the symbiosis between plants and their mycorrhizal fungi. Stop motion artist Niels Hoebers made an accompanying animation about these underground market players.


Underground Market - A stop-motion animation made by the talented Niels Hoebers. This movie helps to explain the wonderful world of mycology and fungi. This picture was shared with us by Hoebers himself. Niels Hoebers

More information

Entrance with a valid Mediamatic Membership. Your first two drinks will be free. Please register with the VU as well. Location: Mediamatic Fabriek, VOC-kade 10, Oostenburg Amsterdam. Doors open at 19:30, we start at 20:00. Language: English.

This event is the first in a series of events that are part of the project ‘Mediamatic Bio Industry’. For this project Mediamatic has launched a broad techno-cultural lab to explore the possibilities of fungal and other bio-based materials for design, science and art. . Scientist, artists, designers, architects, and the public, will together investigate how to make use of the promising characteristics of mycelium – the plastic of the 21st century. It is also part of the Public Science Program of the VU University: public science events that take place in various locations in the city of Amsterdam. Top scientists from VU University tell their story in close cooperation with artists.

Mediamatic Bio Industry is made possible by the DOEN foundation en the Mondriaan Fund.