Orin Noel, GFA ’23


Project Overview

This is a wall sign made of sawdust and magnolia pods inoculated with Reishi mushrooms. Eventually the mycelium will feed and grow throughout the substrate and create a solid white shape. It plays with the idea of flesh. Having flesh, being contained in flesh, connects humans to the bodies of other organisms. We share the experience of mass and matter and organs, of being a body.

Mushrooms are used as a meat substitute, and they are described as meaty from their thick texture. I wanted the tactility of the mycelium to contrast against the blunt word. It brings forth images of beef or animal meat while introducing the alien texture of the white mycelium. I chose Reishi to possibly flower the mycelium and have red Reishi mushrooms bloom through to nod at the blood of animal meat.

The mold is vacuum formed plastic. Growth as of 12/13/22


I inoculated multiple mixtures of substrates to see which ones grew fastest. In the end, I used a substrate inoculated by a friend to pack the “MEAT” vacuum mold since the mycelium was growing densely in their substrate, while my Reishi had been growing too slowly.

In the Petri dish is coffee grounds with both Reishi and grey dove mushrooms. It grew surprisingly well and formed a large cluster of mycelium. As of 12/16/22 the structure was still brittle, and only the densely white sections stuck together. All of my inoculated substrates grew slowly. My cardboard inoculated with Reishi grew fastest despite being a slower mushroom overall.

The below pictures were taken on December 6, 2022. The “MEAT” vacuum mold was packed on December 6 as well.

Learn More