Material

Mycelium

By

Made in

Biodegradable 244 Circular 224 Composite 102 Vegan 95 Castor oil 2 Mycelium 25 Sawdust 9

Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium
Mycelium

RUMA: Refúgio Urbano Multiespécies em Aglomeração (Multispecies Urban Refuge in Cluster)

"RUMA: Refúgio Urbano Multiespécies em Algomeração/Multispecies Urban Refuge in Cluster is a project about the importance of consciously and dialogically coexisting with other living beings as a strategy for survival and the investigation of other ways of inhabiting the ruins of the Anthropocene.
The proposal is to promote, observe and experience multispecies cohabitation in urban spaces, specifically, among native bees, plants, fungi and humans. In this sense, the project develops a refuge named RUMA composed by mycelium and wood sawdust that seeks to increase nesting opportunities for native bees in urban and peri-urban areas. Pedagogically, it seeks to raise awareness regarding current environmental issues, focusing on the relationships we build with other beings, speculating on new forms of intra-action (Barad, 2003).
RUMA is a design project in the crossings of biology, ecology, art, technology and philosophy. The work of thinkers and creators such as biologist and philosopher Donna Haraway, indigenous movement leaders Ailton Krenak and Davi Kopenawa, anthropologist Anna Tsing and Tim Ingold, biologist Lynn Margulis, philosopher and anthropologist Bruno Latour, feminist theorist Karen Barad, mycologist Paul Stamets and many others were extremely important references during the research.
RUMA emerge as a response to what these authors and creators are indicating and putting in debate. Bringing attention to other manifestations of life forms that can teach us a lot about ourselves, the environment we live in and how we are relating with the other Terrans companions. How to response with ability (Haraway, 2016) to the ecological-social-human crisis? Is the conscious coexistence – living-with – a way to empathise with other life-forms and change attitudes? Is there space for multispecies assemblages (Tsing, 2019) in the urban domain?
Multispecies Urban Refuge in Cluster, thus, is a spot for intra and interespecies encounters and aims to bring awarness for the environment issues aggravated by human actions or lack of action. Betting that the familiarity with the multispecies cluster could be an important step for more collective and diverse worlds to come.
The first version of RUMA was prototyped to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest ecosystem. The beings invited to participate in this cluster are bees of the Meliponini tribe (native of this Brazilian biome); saprophytic fungi Ganoderma lucidum (part of the composite construction material of RUMA); the angiosperm plants Portulaca umbraticola (also native of the studied region); and urban humans. Each one participates in its own way in the creation and enjoyment of the project.
Fungi are subterranean beings; they exist everywhere, creating webs of communication and decomposing organic matter for the recycling of nutrients. As one of the first beings on earth along with plants, they created and still create conditions for life of other creatures.
The bees are known as the most important pollinator insects. This action of transporting pollen from one flower to another guarantees biodiversity and maintenance of biomes. Fungi and insects share spaces, such as decomposing tree trunks. An important characteristic of the mycelium and sawdust composite is the thermal isolation. Bees need to maintain a stable inner temperature in the hive. We make use in the project of the capacity of fungi to create conditions and shelter to invite the native bees to settle in the regions of the Atlantic forest dominated by humans.
RUMA had the opportunity to be showcased at the Driving the Human festival in Berlin and to experiment with the various beings involved. It is now awaiting the opportunity for installation in urban spaces, inviting humans to also participate in this ecology."

Making process

The RUMA project commenced in 2020 and underwent various phases, spanning from research to production. The work with mycelium was predominantly do-it-yourself (DIY), conducted in a homemade incubator within a makeshift laboratory set up in a bathroom. Two different fungi were experimented with: Pleurotus Ostreatus and Ganoderma Lucidum, utilizing various substrates such as eucalyptus wood sawdust, bamboo sawdust, recycled paper/cardboard, tea herbs residue, among others. The final selection for the prototype comprised a blend of eucalyptus and bamboo sawdust, as the substrate for growing the Ganoderma Lucidum fungus. Various moulds were trialled and used to shape the project, including 3D printing in PLA for the nucleus, and silicone for the structure, subsequently replaced by thermoplastics: E.V.A and colophony resin. The support was crafted from bamboo and castor resin using glued laminated bamboo (GLB) technique.

Text submitted by the maker and edited by the Future Materials Bank. For information about reproducing (a part of) this text, please contact the maker.

Ingredients

Wood sawdust, mycelium, glued-laminated-bamboo (GLB), castor oil resin

Credits

Jeanine Geammal and Malu Fragoso, project advisors; Gustavo Moreira, woodworker; Ana Clara Mattoso, Laura Fragoso, Lucas Martins, Nadine Nicolay and Stephanie Doyle, film production; Driving the human / Skills e.V. and Goethe institute, funding and support.