I’m co-writing an abstract (and later a full paper) for an academic conference about open-platform research on mycelium materials in architecture/construction industry. It would be awesome to co-write and peer-review it together with the community.
The goal of the paper is to strategize about how open-platform research can inform biologically augmented matter and therefore regenerate the relationship between people, ecology and materiality in de building industry. A broad potential exists in the production of biomolecular self-assembling living materials, such as mycelial composites, with properties that are beneficial for all organisms (humans and non-human). Unfortunately, several risks have been attributed to the recent (potentially myopic) developments in engineered biological systems under highly controlled conditions (ref). One of the risks is related to the exponential industrialisation and technological growth leading to exponential competition for scared resources. As a result, harm is exponentially externalised to the biosphere and the commons to a level that is no longer viable (ref). In meanwhile, grassroot biohacking communities composed of students, self-builders, product designers, architects, researchers, educators, are producing abundant knowledge about sustainable biomaterials on a crossdisciplinarity platform. To channel the self-replicating manufacturing systems developed by those commons, all stakeholders (such as waste management facilities, mycelium producers, mushroom farmers, material manufactures, engineers, constructors, governments, scientists…) should be identified, connected and willing to reinvent the industrial processes of living biomaterials in the building industry.
First of all, we establish a set of principles uncovered from the avant-garde biohacking movement, as well as a series of material and design experiments evaluating those methods in the architectural practice. Two pilots are elaborated, the first in an architectural engineering education project and the second in an large-scale manufacturing project of living building materials. We analyse the opportunities and challenges when different fields come together in a symbiotic relation. What if mushroom farmers become mycelium-material producers in a circular model, “bio-artisans” working with wild-types in local autonomy, similar to craftsmen and brewers? How to give architectural engineers new toolsets to become bio-engineers? What does it mean to engineer living biological materials into designed objects?
The research approach for both pilots is community-based and uses an online forum for knowledge sharing. It includes action-oriented and material-based research which is probabilistic, explorative and shaped by its local context. While most experiments on the open-platform are not always scientifically reproducible, they embody a valuable set of psychogeography possibilities for the re-appropriation of matter. The users are assisted to deal with non-linear, complex and iterative processes. Furthermore, the collaborative and non-competitive engagements regularly form new ‘out-of-control’ information, which creates fertile and fluctuating spaces between disciplines, the people, and their relationships. The approach is based on two main regenerative methods: non-competitive dynamics and closed-loop dynamics.
Feel free to add, correct, peer-review, re-write, criticise, etc…
What do you think? Is it valuable to publish what we do on this forum?