In this series, knowledge embedded in two distinct systems—human society and micro-organic life—become crossed and blurred, each simultaneously corrupted and broadened.
By layering living and non-living systems, Cesar & Lois considers parallels and distinctions between human knowledge and knowledge embodied in nature. The resulting “cross-cultural” archive of ephemeral objects explores the overlaps of and conflicts between human and non-human wisdom. The project series is shown in various formats, as installations and in images and videos.
The collective Cesar & Lois is influenced in equal parts by societal systems and by nature. The collective’s connections to nature are specific to Cesar Baio’s homeland Brazil, where Amazonian politics and policies are impacted by and drive global economic systems, and to Lucy HG Solomon’s work in the Peruvian Amazon, where she collects stories about nature’s complex systems.
The fungus is reading Plato. Or is Plato reading the fungus? Which represents knowledge, the mushroom or the book?
Thinking like… texting like… responding like… a mushroom. In an era of mindfulness in what one eats, thinks and does, why not consider a more ecosystemic approach, advancing the whole and communicating across all of the parts?
Why not… Think like a Mushroom
Cesar & Lois practices thinking like a mushroom, collectively and with others—that is the only way to think like a mushroom.
1. Observe fungal growth at different stages.
2. Consider the microorganism’s strategies of growth, how the organism expands and who and what benefits.
3. Reflect on one’s own capacity for growth and motivations for advancement.
4. Observe the conduits and circuitry for biological and environmental information passed within and through the fungal system.
5. Advance the human circuitry for the same.
Growing mushrooms on books requires a longterm commitment, patience and also the right book.
The above books were carefully selected—some heirlooms of knowledge passed from mother to daughter, others tomes on designing landscapes, espousing a reordering of the natural system. Such books demand colonization; they are just asking for cultivation by nature.
These living artifacts cross human and fungal systems, with mushrooms colonizing human knowledge in the form of books. This project asks, what might we learn from a fungal system? Through integration, new pathways become possible.
Cesar & Lois is attempting to think like a mushroom. You can, too.
The video below is a meditation guide for thinking like a mushroom.