a wander through Central Park in search of fungi, stories, and sound
The largest and oldest living organism on the planet is a mushroom. Although its fruiting body is no bigger than the palm of your hand, the entire organism extends for miles in either direction, comprised of a root-like system called mycelium. Mycologist Paul Stamets describes this as the neurological network of Nature, Earth’s natural Internet, or “the wood-wide web”; allowing both information and resources to pass quickly through the entire network. Mushroom hunting is also a practice shared by almost all major cultures, providing a vital source of food, medicine, and spiritual ritual.
Using mushrooms as a material and metaphor, Myco-Ramblings explores the intersection of mycology, folk knowledge, and storytelling. We invited participants to join us on a ramble through Central Park to forage for mushrooms, to cultivate collective knowledge related to fungi, and to create a chance-based field recording. We walked, we noticed, and delighted in the delicacies of the mushroom world.
While field identification was part of the experience, it was not the primary goal. We were interested in what stories, practices, and insights emerge from the shared experience of looking at and for mushrooms together. The sounds and stories collected were edited to create a 42 minute audio document; a meditation on wandering and a celebration of the uncertain and mysterious nature of fungi.
We hope to expand this project with future walks and recordings. For now, enjoy the sounds of exploration: