Fungi & Weather

How do the smallest units of life experience the weather? The Fungi Weather Project is an attempt to investigate and visualise the relationship between fungal networks and the weather.

 

By Rut Karin Zettergren, Finn Arschavir and Jens Evaldsson.

 

This art project is funded by the Goethe-Institut.

Borne out of a curiosity of scales and magnitudes and the connection between the micro and the macro, the question arose “How do the smallest units of life experience the weather?” This got us thinking about the connection between what goes on beneath our feet and what happens above our heads. We decided to look at fungal networks because of how they reflect information networks such as the internet and our brains to see if we can find out how the weather feels underground. 

One of the challenges in facing the climate crisis is humans are not evolutionarily developed to comprehend magnitudes much larger or smaller than ourselves; we’re not designed to understand scales on a global or microscopic level. We can’t see sea levels rise before us and we can’t hold the degradation of soils in our hands. This inability to grasp these concepts impacts our ability to change our behaviour. In order to better cope with complex and disorientating ideas we need new ways of conceptualising and visualising them, we need the ability to step outside ourselves. 

By generating a three-dimensional environment based on real world datasets we can allow the viewer to navigate and explore completely alien environments, scales and concepts like never before. To render hidden interactions between weather and environment in visual form and give voice to unheard conversations between fungi and climate, making previously invisible worlds visible, helps us understand and relate to climate change. This intersection between art, science and digital technology is fundamental to visualising the new frontiers that we face.