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Compost-ables (2020): Forage Store Installation

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A progressive experiment showcasing the materiality of our clothing and the power of fungi. These organisms will compost our clothing, demonstrating the cycle from clothing to soil.

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Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), plants, Olderbrother and Maru Garcia.

Glass tanks, soil, organic matter, fabric, humidifier, camera. 

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‘Compost-ables’ is an installation resulting from the multispecies collaboration of fungi, plants, Olderbrother, bioartist Maru Garcia, and other microscopic organisms in contained systems. In the form of a progressive experiment, the symbiotic relationship between fungi, plants, and humans is explored and captured visually through time.

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In this piece, the extraordinary capacities of fungi are at the center of our intention. The silent performers are responsible for many fundamental roles, especially being the principal decomposers of organic matter or nutrient cycling. Aware of our shared origins and life in cycles, the interconnectedness of our existence is exemplified by mycorrhizal networks. We, fungi, plants, and humans want to acknowledge that. We all immersed in the soil, as ground dwellers, wanting to share time and space, culture, experiences, and knowledge. While some of us are able to compost, we are all composting bodies, part of the cycle, back to the soil.

 

View Store Livestream

 

 (Service may be interrupted and will resume shortly)

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Protocol

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Objective:

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To return Olderbrother clothing to organic matter.

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Method: 

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In the span of 120 days we will place Olderbrother garments inside of ecosystems for composting. During this time we will have these conditions:

Tank 1: Tank closed. 

Tank 2: Monthly maintenance allowed.

Tank 3: Night aeration, watering every week.

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Hypothesis

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Each tank will develop differently. Olderbrother garments will present signs of degradation in color and materiality.

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More about Fungi

Fungi -the kingdom that includes yeast, molds, and the more familiar mushrooms- inhabit widely diverse ecosystems. They are along with bacteria, the principal decomposers of organic matter, and have fundamental roles in nutrient cycling and exchange in the environment. 

The cells of most fungi grow as tubular, elongated, and thread-like structures called hyphae. These growth processes lead to the development of a mycelium, an interconnected network of hyphae. The mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of mycelium. 

Similar to animals, fungi are heterotrophs; they acquire their food by absorbing dissolved molecules, typically by secreting digestive enzymes into their environment. 

They engage in symbiotic relationships with plants (mycorrhizal communities) and algae (lichens). In the case of humans, they affect our health (pathogens, penicillin), food (edible mushrooms, yeast in fermentation: wine, beer, bread), industry and agriculture in both positive and conflicting ways.

Mycoremediation is employing fungi or its derivatives for remediation of environmental pollutants. Fungi have the capacity of degrading pollutants such as heavy metals, agricultural, pharmaceutical wastes, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Especially in the textile industry responsible of 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions and releasing 200,000 tons of dyes to effluents every year, fungal biomass can be used to biodegrade industrial pollutants in soil and water.

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References:

 

Lellis, B et al. “Effects of textile dyes on health and the environment and bioremediation potential of living organisms.” Biotechnology Research and Innovation. Volume 3, Issue 2, July–December 2019, Pages 275-290 Nilsson, et al. “Decolorization of synthetic and real textile wastewater by the use of white-rot fungi” Enzyme and Microbial Technology. Volume 38, Issues 1–2, 3 January 2006, Pages 94-100 Akhtar, et al. “Mycoremediation: Expunging environmental pollutants” Biotechnol Rep (Amst). 2020 Jun; 26 “Textile Dyes: Dyeing Process and Environmental Impact.” By Farah Maria Drumond Chequer, Gisele Augusto Rodrigues de Oliveira, Elisa Raquel Anastácio Ferraz, Juliano Carvalho Cardoso, Maria Valnice Boldrin Zanoni and Danielle Palma de Oliveira. Published: January 16th 2013 https://www.intechopen.com/books/eco-friendly-textile-dyeing-and-finishing/textile-dyes-dyeing-process-and-environmental-impact