November 2019 – January 2020
Museo Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna
Santiago, Chile

Juan Ferrer

The first lesson taught by fungi is that all of life is interconnected. The Fungi Kingdom provides an ecosystem vision of the infinite living parts that make up the Earth. This subterranean kingdom is all around us, and although many people may not know it, it is the planet’s third largest kingdom. Spores, mycelia, mycorrhizae, and the million types of fungi that exist are all behind most of the decomposition of organic matter, that is to say, the mutation of death in life.

Through their mycelial networks, these beings permeate throughout the world, connecting and perpetuating life’s cycles. Through them, humans can learn that each act implies an incommensurable chain of effects. Today, they also show us that the socio-environmental crisis is a combination of phenomena that surpasses climatic unbalance.
∞ (Infinita) seeks to ignite thought and motivate the design of alternative systems that integrate ethical and aesthetic dimensions in the pursuit of equilibrium and respect for live. As the Fungus Museum’s eighth apparition, it opens up the way for a mico-centric displacement, one that situates humans within the infinite mycelial network, a radical example of the mutual support and symbiosis that nature is capable of. Its germination at the Museo Nacional Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna places fungi in the middle of the city, in order to understand and inhabit it as a living being, an infinite network. The works of art that converge at this exhibition challenge us to look underneath the surface, to avoid barriers, and to expand our senses so as to adapt to a state of crisis.

By working with fungi, we are ​not inaugurating a new chapter in human history, but rather, reactivating an ancient interspecies relationship that is manifested in our foods, medicines, products, and rites. Mycology, the branch of biological science concerned with the study of fungi, only recently in 1969 procured the recognition of the Fungi Kingdom as an independent field within the taxonomical order of living beings on Earth. Their properties present a potential for research and learning about a life form that has yet to be fully described. The eighth apparition of the Fungus Museum is an opportunity for us to reconnect with it.

The Fungus Museum, like mycelia, is activated through the sponsorship and support of the Fungi Foundation, and based on this support, it has been able to interconnect with a series of collaborators who have made this eighth apparition possible:

Financed by the Ministry of Culture, the Arts, and Patrimony; the Cultural Donations Law; the UC Vice-Chancellery of Investigation; Hongos de Chile; Larraín Vial; the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism; Núcleo Milenio; iBio.

Our collaborators are: Corporación Chilena de Video; the Biofabrication Laboratory at the Faculty of Architecture, Design, and Urban Studies at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile; Maltrato Films; Federici Lab; Centro Manna; Columbia Global Centres Santiago; Red Fungi; Micosecha; iF Blanco Recoleta.

Artworks / Artists

Monumento Abierto – BioFab Lab UC
Atlas de Chile Regionalizado – Rodrigo Arteaga
Microscopía Libre – Free Technologies Laboratory PUC, iBio
Cordones miceliales – Pedro Marambio + Andrea Gana
Fuente – Claudia Müller
Ascospora – Alexandra Mabes
Inocular – Rodrigo Arteaga
Colección Única Extrema – Fungi Foundation
Hypha – Natalia Cabrera
Biofachada – BioFab Lab UC