EGMT 1510: Living Labyrinths - how fungi can teach us to be musical

This Engagement course explores creative intersections between human expressive culture and organic processes, especially emerging understandings of the importance of underground mycelial networks to global ecosystems. We will explore both the social worlds that surround a burgeoning, countercultural citizen science knowledge movement in the West, and the creative practices of indigenous African forest people who have deep cultural understandings of these kinds of processes. With hands-on (and voices and bodies on) we will delve into how fungi can model creative processes, and experience how cultural knowledge of structured improvisation mirror the flexible networks that ceaselessly remodel themselves in the natural world – skills that humans must cultivate to remediate our environmental and social crises. Readings will include: Entangled Lives: How Fungi make our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures (2020) by biologist Merlin Sheldrake, and selections from the writing of poets, anthropologists, naturalists, and other creatives including Gregory Bateson and Robin Wall Kimmerer. Walking outside, as well as listening to and viewing recordings and films and singing together will be part of our curriculum.