March 20 – April 17 2021
164 Willowvale Ln
Marie has arranged for the delivery of ‘hog-fuel’, a crude mixture of bark, wood chips, and fir needles, in 10-yard loads.
After placing a dozen calls, she finds a wood supply company that donates the hog fuel while Fungi Perfecti pays for the trucking. The company is known for their organic compost, medium to fine barks, cedar chips, and recycled gravel and sand. Seven employees donate their time to spread the wood chip matrix to a depth of 3 to 12 inches. After the hog-fuel is spread, they apply Oyster Mushroom spawn, Pleurotus ostreatus, on the top surface of the fuel. Six bales of wheat straw are spread out over the top.
The cost of destroying or building a road, using current methods, is roughly within the same range. In seven years the site has been slow to recover, with a thin layering of grass. The habitat lacks biological diversity, has very little soil, no under-canopy, and the rate of recovery has been exceedingly slow.
With only 500 feet of the old logging road to run their restoration tests on, Marie feels she has no other choice than to invest herself in what could be a lengthy recovery process. If the inoculation is not completed swiftly, she risks losing authorization from Till and the Department. It’s going to be a long drive back through Mason County in the early morning-night. She’ll shower quickly, send an email to Till, draw the blackout curtains she requested from the front desk, get in bed, and dream of salmon, silt, and please rain.
Later, the rain will come, and Marie will celebrate with Till.
—Ethnodramatic adaption of MycoRestoration of Abandoned Logging Roads
Written by Jennifer Warne
Fruitbody is a show that is both dreary and uplifting. It does not dwell in loss, but rather thrives from restorative mutation. Findlays wall works, ‘Morning Mourning’ and ‘Ternion’ convey a subtractive quality that is giving in nature. Indigo and emerald pigment is added and then pulled away with the finger, leaving behind a white gesso flower that feels unnatural yet sincerely happy to be there. Boone’s ‘Log Lamps 1,2, and 3’ emit a glow only visible if one were to move intimately into the space under the lamps’ veils. The works refuse definition as art or functional design, similar to mushroom fungi blurring the line between plant and animal classification. Bellmare’s mixed media work, ‘D.E.V.I.L. Driving Electric Vehicles Into Lamentation’ invites the viewer into an articulately hectic collage referential of climate change, forest fires, and the irony of the neoliberal condition.
When Claude Levi-Strauss explores the idea of myth and its ability to transcend the structures that most language is constructed within, he speaks about a flickering between a past and the future. Both are ultimately destroying and rebuilding something that marks the present.
“The anthropologist goes forward, seeking to attain, through the conscious, of which he is always aware, more and more of the unconscious; whereas the historian advances, so to speak, backward, keeping his eyes fixed on concrete and specific activities from which he withdraws only to consider them from a more complete and richer perspective. A true two-faced Janus, it is the solidarity of the two disciplines that makes it possible to keep the whole road in sight.” ¹
Now more than ever ², a present moment is felt by acknowledging the implications of a fast approaching future. This creates an environment of flickering as well. This environment acknowledges a centre point in which to anchor it’s rocky temporality. It also refuses a central, unifying structure, perhaps to feel timeless. Jacques Derrida writes about the functionality of centring within a structure as “not only to orient, balance, and organize the structure…but above all to make sure that the organizing principle of the structure would limit what we might call the play of the structure.” ³ The permittance of play in this context exists only within the elements from which it is referenced. However this type of play is fundamentally immobile because the permutation of the form and all interchangeability of interior components is forbidden. These post-structural musings have undoubtedly been considered and reconsidered, but we could visit it again if only for the impending drama of it all.
In Paul Stamats’ MycoRestoration of Abandoned Logging Roads ⁴, the reader is given information that is predominantly quantitative, however the tone of the self-published article on Stamat’s own website feels inescapably personal. Editing the temporality of this text and indulging in a qualitative narrative creates an informative ethnodrama ⁵ (as expanded upon by Johnny Saldaña) that draws on themes directly related to the works in fruitbody. The manipulation of this text references Derrida’s writings on play being preconstructed and immobile- the reformation of narrative from this article relies on the structure and clues the text already provides.
According to Armen Avennsion, “the history of the present tense as a narrative tense … enabled the present tense to create fiction, and narratively to unfold a past without having to presentify it.” ⁶ The ethnodrama presented with fruitbody demonstrates a fictional present tense entanglement with a nonfictionl past. This feels invitingly warm and refreshingly referencless, yet unavoidably so.
The restorative mutation of fruitbody parallels the aforementioned themes of temporality and indulges in it’s own narrative – a flickering of past and present ideas that generate a hopeful sense of presence.
1 Levi-Strauss, C. (1963). Structural anthropology. Doubleday.
2 Mellencamp, J., & Island Def Jam Music Group. (1991). Now More Than Ever [Rock Song]. Island Def Jam Music Group. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyGTEXe95ZQ
3 Derrida, J., & Bass, A. (1978). Writing and Difference. University of Chicago Press.
4 Stamats, P., & Sumerlin, D. (2003, June). MycoRestoration of Abandoned Logging Roads. Paul Stamats. https://fungi.com/blogs/articles/mycorestoration-of-abandoned-logging-roads
5 Saldaña, J. (2005). Ethnodrama: An Anthology of Reality Theatre (Crossroads in Qualitative Inquiry). AltaMira Press.
6 Avanessian, A. (2013). (Co)Present Tense: Marcel Beyer Reads the Past. The Germanic Review: Literature, Culture, Theory, 88(4), 363–374. https://doi.org/10.1080/00168890.2013.842870