Lecture by Phil Ross

Presented as part of CCA's Graduate Program in Fine Arts Satellite Lecture Series
November 16, 2010, 7:30–9:00 pm

Phil Ross, Mycotecture (Mycelium study), 2010 [courtesy of the artist]

Graduate Center, San Francisco Campus
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Contact: The Graduate Fine Art Office at 415.551.9213

Philip Ross creates organic, generative artworks through the design and construction of controlled environmental spaces. In these environments Ross transforms and refines a variety of sculptural artifacts much as one might train the growth of a Bonsai tree, works that engage and question definitions of nature, placing natural systems within a frame of social and historic contexts. Recent work includes mushrooms as sculpture at Dusseldorf Kunst Akademie, a trilogy of videos about microorganisms, founding and directing CRITTER—a salon for the natural sciences in San Francisco, and developing some LEED Transplutonic building materials. These diverse projects stem from his fascination with interrelationships among human beings, technology, and the greater living environment.

Mycotecture, or the creation of architectural forms with fungus, is being pioneered by Ross at Far West Fungi in California. He doesn’t use the caps of the mushroom; he’s instead interested in the mycelium, the white root-like fibers that form a network in the soil below, as alternative building material. Ross engages biology and the kitchen lab as art material, exploring growth technologies, wild mushrooms taxonomies, forest ecologies, and husbandry in work that is aesthetically, intellectually, and symbolically rich.