TOP Lab* started to host a mushroom cultivation and mycofabrication courses from Spring 2019 within “Mind the Fungi” , a Citizen Science project of Art Laboratory Berlin and the TU Berlin Institute for Biotechnology. The Mind the Fungi project is focused on studying the characteristics of mushrooms of the Berlin area.
Mushrooms are studied and used to produce food, construction materials , furniture , textiles , packaging materials , dyeing pigments , chemicals , artworks and are studied as medicinal substances producers . The variety in use cases makes of mycology a field of studies with the potential of proposing extraordinary ideas, and which will eventually disrupt different aspects of agro-industrial processes and eventually of our lives.
The goal of the course is to empower participants to take part in this process, by teaching them the fundamentals to cultivate mushrooms at home and produce biomaterials for practical applications or artistic purposes. Once trained, we encourage participants to keep experimenting and co-designing ideas on their own and propose them to a critical and inquiring society.
Mind the Fungi Course at TOP Lab, Berlin. April 2019. Photographed by Fara Peluso.
In the project Mind the Fungi we use the interdisciplinary concept from STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Art) to expand scientific research with artistic and design-based research. The Institute of Biotechnology works with Berlin citizens, artists, and designers to develop new ideas and technologies for mushroom and lichen-based materials of the future. The Artists in Residence program brings art and design into the project as a constructive source of ideas, multipliers, and communicators of scientific issues, and supports the process of sharing research processes and findings with the public.
Mind the Fungi Course at TOP Lab, Berlin. October 2019. Photographed by Bon Alog.
With the expertise of applied and molecular microbiology in the field of fungal biotechnology (Prof. Meyer), bioprocess engineering (Prof. Neubauer) and art and science communication (Art Laboratory Berlin) the aim of the project is also to establish a new, innovative and interdisciplinary field of research at the TU Berlin, which dares right from the beginning to build a bridge in the growing Citizen Science Community in order to integrate their expertise at an early stage.
Please find the resources here to create your own Home Laboratory (PDF).
Mind the Fungi | Lab Protocols (PDF):
- Prepare soya-agar medium Petri dishes
- Isolate a new strain from supermarket mushrooms
- Preparation of grain spawn
- Preparation of a bag with solid substrates and inoculation with grain spawn for fructification
- Fabrication of a solid object made of mycelium
Prof Dr.-Ing. Vera Meyer, Head of chair at TU Berlin, Department of Applied Molecular Microbiology (AMM)
Dipl. Ing. Bertram Schmidt, Research assistant at TU Berlin, AMM
Dipl. Ing. Carsten Pohl, Research assistant at TU Berlin, AMM
Christian de Lutz, Curator, Researcher & Co-Director of Art Laboratory Berlin
Regine Rapp M.A., Curator, Researcher & Co-Director of Art Laboratory Berlin
Dr. Flavia Barragan, Chemist & Co-founder of TopLab
M.Sc. Alessandro Volpato, Biologist & Co-founder of TopLab
Tuce Erel, curator & cultural worker, Top Transdisciplinary Project Space member
* TOP Lab is a DIY-Biolab located as infrastructure at >top Transdisciplinary Project Space.
 Riika Raisanen (6 April 2009), “Dyes from lichens and mushrooms”, in Thomas Bechtold and Rita Mussak (ed.), Handbook of Natural Colorants, John Wiley & Sons, pp. 183–200, ISBN 978-0-470-74496-3, retrieved 23 September 2016
The Mind the Fungi project is finalized with a publication, edited by Vera Meyer and Regine Rapp. TOP Lab co-founder and Mind the Fungi mushroom cultivation workshop leader Alessandro Volpato contributed to the publication as well.
This book reports on the bundling of the creativity engines science and art and how a living triad of science, art and society can be forged from this. The project Mind the Fungi is a Citizen Science research project, which resulted from the cooperation of the Departments of Applied and Molecular Microbiology and Bioprocess Engineering of the TU Berlin and the art and research platform Art Laboratory Berlin.
The scientific and artistic paths in the project Mind the Fungi, which we followed together with the public from 2018 to
2020, including the Art & Design Residencies, can now be traced in text and images in this book. It was intended to provide citizens with an opportunity for scientific collaboration. The project was intended to give a broad public an understanding of the importance of fungal biotechnology for a sustainable future and to establish a research network at the TU Berlin, in which, among other things, novel fungus-based biomaterials were researched with Citizen Scientists.
Texts and authors:
Fungi as sustainable biomaterials | Bertram Schmidt, Bastian Schubert, Kustrim Cerimi, Carsten Pohl, Vera Meyer
Lichens as natural product reservoirs | Zakieh Zakeri, Stefan Junne, Peter Neubauer
Art and science as community mycelia | Regine Rapp, Christian de Lutz, Theresa Schubert, Bertram Schmidt, Alessandro Volpato
Artist and designer in laboratory residencies | Theresa Schubert, Fara Peluso
How to exhibit Mind the Fungi? On mycohuman co-curating | Regine Rapp, Christian de Lutz
Teaching and learning transdisciplinary | Kustrim Cerimi, Bastian Schubert, Birke Weber, Carsten Pohl, Bertram Schmidt, Vera Meyer
Merging science and art through fungi (reprint) | Vera Meyer
On mycohuman performances: fungi in current artistic research (reprint) | Regine Rapp
With the generous support of the Technische Universität Berlin as part of the program “Citizen Science – Forschen mit der Gesellschaft” and the Open Access Publication Fund.
Mind the Fungi, 2020, ed. Vera Meyer and Regine Rapp.
151 pages | 193 coloured images | 21 black & white images |
28 x 21 cm | Book design: Eva-Maria Bolz | Copy editor: Julia Kühn |
Printing house: ProBusiness
Digital publication | ISBN 978-3-7983-3169-3 | free access
Hardcover | ISBN 978-3-7983-3168-6 | 24,90 EUR
Mind the Fungi Mycofabrication Course at TopLab, Berlin. October-November, 2019. Photographed by Bon Alog.