Mind the Fungi

TopLab Berlin at >top Transdisciplinary Project Space. October 2019. Photographed by Bon Alog.
TopLab Berlin at >top Transdisciplinary Project Space. October 2019, Photographed by Bon Alog.

TopLab* started to host a mushroom cultivation and mycofabrication courses from Spring  2019 within “Mind the Fungi” [1], 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 [2], furniture [3], textiles [4], packaging materials [5], dyeing pigments [6], chemicals [7], artworks and are studied as medicinal substances producers [8]. With such application diversity, we will witness in the future an explosion in the fungal products which will disrupt different aspects of industrial processes and eventually of our lives.

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 TopLab, 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 programme 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 TopLab, 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.

The team:

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

*  TopLab is a DIY-Biolab located as an infrastructure at >top Transdisciplinary Project Space.

References

[1] https://www.mikrobiologie.tu-berlin.de/menue/forschung/mind_the_fungi/

http://artlaboratory-berlin.org/html/de-Mind-the-Fungi.htm

[2] https://www.huffpost.com/entry/moma-hy-fi-_n_5549107?guccounter=1

[3] https://www.mycoworks.com/

[4] http://www.fungal-futures.com/MycoTEX-Mycelium-Textile

[5] https://ecovativedesign.com/

[6] 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

[7] https://www.mikrobiologie.tu-berlin.de/menue/forschung/

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingzhi_mushroom

 

Please find the resources here to create your own Home Laboratory.

 

Mind the Fungi Mycofabrication Course at TopLab, Berlin. October-November, 2019. Photographed by Bon Alog.