The Fungus Among Us

Exhibit dates: March 14 – March 23, 2019

Artist Talks: March 18 & March 19, 2019 6PM

Location: Main Gallery 

Envisioned by DC-based artist Naoko Wowsugi with partner Enough Pie, this 10-day installation is a collaboration with local artists Mikki Blackman and Deborah Donovan Rice, Cara Ernst, and teachers & students from multiple local schools in Charleston’s Upper Peninsula.

THE FUNGUS AMONG US: Our Mycelium Connection is part of Enough Pie’s AWAKENING: NOURISH, a series of artworks and events showcasing creative ways to nurture ourselves and our communities through food, stories, and artistic expression in Charleston’s Upper Peninsula.

For this initiative, a mushroom focused immersive art experience is being constructed to illustrate the connection between humans and how that is similar to the interconnectivity of a mushroom’s root system. The main gallery at REDUX will be split between light and dark, a metaphor for the Spring solstice. A mushroom needs light above ground to grow, and darkness below ground, where its roots communicate in exceptional ways. Throughout this installation, Naoko Wowsugi will be participating in Redux’s new Visiting Artist Pilot Program, working out of Redux during her short-term residency in Charleston actively engaging with studio artists and the Upper Peninsula community.

COMMUNITY MAPPING PROJECT: The light side of the gallery will be covered with mushroom sculptures created by local students to showcase a community mapping project. Participants will be take their photo with a polaroid camera and connect their image to the photos of people they know that are already on the wall with string, which will represent the connections between people with the hope that people see how interconnected we are to people we have never met before. Mycelium, the technical term for mushroom roots, grow underground and connect to other organisms in fascinating ways, just like community members connect to each other in ways they may not realize.

MYCROCOSMOS: The dark side of the gallery will be a meditational mushroom planetarium. Visitors will be invited to lay on the ground and look up at a textured ceiling of fiber mycelium. Looped and netted cords and wrapped coils created by the textile artists working with a local community knitting group will be hung to create a theater screen, and a video featuring “mushroom fairies” (a nod to fairy rings) will play regularly featuring interviews with local experts to share the important and interesting role mushrooms can play in the future of humanity.

WHY? The power of mushrooms is multifold. Mushrooms can be an important food source for humanity moving forward as they contain significant protein & high nutritional content, and can be a substitute for meat, which emits high carbon levels into the atmosphere during production. Mushrooms are amazing at detoxification, removing harmful toxins from soil and water. The way mushrooms communicate and build strong structures is a fascinating metaphor for how to make healthier communities and build better communities, a process called biomimicry. Humans can learn so much from FUNGUS AMONG US!

SUPPORT: Technical Event Company (TEC), The Office of Cultural Affairs, The Post & Courier Foundation