Celia

Deep listening to fungal interactions
2020 - Present

Chapter 1: Entering the fairy ring

Research question: How might mycelium want to interact with sound through technology, architecture and the environment for the enhancement of life on earth?

An open source design research project to connect deeper with forest ecology, Celia was an idea inspired by a research project on sustainable electronics and the circular economy.

Chapter 1: Entering the fairy ring

Grass grows stronger where mycelial growth is present, enacting a symbiotic relationship with the life around it. So if you want to find a fairy ring, look for where the grass is longer, lusher, darker.

Around a campfire on a cold night under the moon a storyteller tells timeless tails of trickster fairies. Neither wholly good or wholly wicked these timeless tails do not have a clear message of good verses evil, but still it is clear that you shouldn't expect a fairy to do what you want.

When people stumbled across circles of mushrooms in the forest, some explained the phenomenon through the fairy circle, a place where fairies live and humans are not welcome.

Spotting a sign in a wet field one morning, I rushed to inspect the circle of mushrooms before me. In my excitement, disturbing the grass. It was eerily quiet in the centre, the mushrooms looking like a stone henge miniature.

For the first time in a long time, I felt the feeling of unwelcomeness in nature. It was a strange feeling, after all, I am human, surely nature is here for my usage, my enjoyment? But something felt off here. I felt it was time to leave.

The next day I returned but I did not enter the circle, cautiously looking for signs of fairy activity from the night before. This is ridiculous, I thought. I want to work with mushrooms, but I can't even enter to study them! Then the idea came to me.

Having been gifted a ceremonial tobacco plant, I could leave an offering in reciprocity. So the following morning I took my envelope with dried tobacco plant leaves in it and sprinkled some at the entrance to the circle. I felt as if i was being watched.

The next day, the entrance felt lighter, more welcoming. I cautiously proceeded to cross the threshold once more. I could start my design research knowing that I have approached with respect.

Chapter 2: Coming soon