While browsing a website, chatting with friends or streaming a movie you connect to a server somewhere on this planet. A server that is hosting for your needs. From your phone, through a network of cables information finds its path. While chasing the fastest connections, we need a lot of power that produces a lot of heat. Many networks that we interact with on a daily basis, and are essential for the functioning of the many systems of the world, are invisible to us. Mycelium is one of nature’s networks. It is the communication between plants, the exchange of knowledge, food and resources. Mushrooms are the fruit bodies of the mycelium network. The mushroom is the visible part of a much larger body. When seeing a mushroom we tend not to realise what is under the ground. This is a similar principle to computer networks. Computer networks need lots of energy to keep running. By using the excess energy to cultivate mushrooms and grow mycelium I create an environment in which the natural and the digital worlds exist in symbiosis. The mycelium brick, after harvesting the mushrooms, can be used as a sustainable building material. Mycelium networks work in a way to protect the community. By keeping your data local, you can focus on building your community network with sovereignty and communal needs in mind.
I made this project with the intention to create a community, to share data with each other on a local level. It is an attempt to rethink how our data online is handled and inspire people to value ‘local’ products, both digitally and in the physical world.
A special thanks to SpijkerZwam, an Arnhem based company specialised in local and circular cultivation of oyster mushrooms, who helped me with this project and shared their knowledge with me.