biG CAAK(E*)

A Project  by  biG CAAKe

for the iLAND 2009 Collaborative Creative Residency Program

biG CAAKe is an interdisciplinary collaboration team united in re-imagining space,

material and situation for the purpose of initiating playful engagements with

and understandings of urban systems and living.

“Scientists have discovered what could be the largest and oldest living organism on earth, an individual

mightier than the blue whale, the giant sequoia tree or such past pretenders to size supremacy as the

dinosaur.…the finding will force biologists to rethink their assumptions about what constitutes an individual,

a fundamental problem in the study of the natural world and its ecosystems. Scientists normally

view a single organism as something bound by a type of skin, whether of animal flesh or plant cellulose.

But fungi grow as a network of cells and threadlike elements whose boundaries are not always clear.”

(The New York Times April 2, 1992)

“It’s a limitation to be bound by the three dimensional body. So, reconfigure the three dimensional body into a cellular body -- instead of thinking Deborah Hay, I think 384 trillion cells at once.”

- Deborah Hay

When the largest and oldest living organism known surfaces, it manifests as a delicate mushroom no

bigger than the palm of a hand. Inspired by rhizome networks as tools for bioremediation, a metaphor

for the layers of unseen infrastructure below our feet, and a collaborative niche upon which to focus

a collective narrative, we propose a multifaceted interactive research project that will culminate in

events combining dance, education, environmental remediation and architecture 

StrataSpore is a platform for collective knowledge about local NYC ecosystems and its potential for

applications in urban sustainability. The platform will cultivate “spores” of knowledge by combining

elements of task/performance-based art, experiential learning, and experimental design practice that

implements a dialogue about unseen, natural and man-made systems as sites for restorative sustainability

applications. Our focus will be directed to the mushroom, and its potential for changing the

ecology within a landscape. We invite communities and individuals to partake (with CAAKe) in a multidisciplinary

practice of visualization and re-interpretation of natural systems (mycology) as models for

community engagement. Based on the connective function and form of mushroom ecology, StrataSpore will harness local fungi

as a model for engagement and re-interpretation of living in urban spaces.