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The Fungus Among Us

Term: First 7 weeks | Spring 2015 | Tuesdays 12:10 - 2:40
Professor Marina Zurkow
Contact: | 917 749 5326
Office hours



You are encouraged to work in teams of 2-3 on the assignments, as a 7 week class is brief!

The assignments are as follows:

Enter your information into the class spreadsheet.
1 project developed over 7 weeks
1 case study developed over 6 weeks


Case study. Due week 6:

Students will create a case study in teams of 2-3, to the class' collection of studies on engagement with fungi. This case study of an "expert" in the field, related to your area of study, could be a scientist, artist, sociologist, folklorist, psychonaut, chef, inventor, fabricator.

This contribution will entail:

Identifying a specific area of focus or a question that has direct relevance to your own project development.

identification of a case study collaborator who has explored your question or project concerns in her/his own project or research (someone with extensive experience with fungi). It is advisable to focus on a specific project, not generalize.

An interview with the collaborator (audio recorded and transcribed).

Note-taking to capture the perspectives of the collaborator.

A 5 minute in-class presentation of the collaborator’s experiences. This presentation should aim to make a compelling (narrative -audio-visual materials welcome) that can frame your question in the context of what you learned from your interview subject and her/his work. 5 minutes of Q + A will follow.

A written description (3-5 pages with images if applicable) of the collaborator’s engagement, due the day after your presentation by midnight.

You must use citations and quote / attribute when applicable.


Project. Due week 7:

We will have project check-ins on week 3 and 5. Final presentations in class on week 7.

What constitutes a good project?

Projects begin with a prompt: what is the context and the question you're investigating? Imagine a final context for the project. While this might feel unnatural, it will help to ground the project. Your prompt might change over time. But keep it in sight. Who is the project "talking to?" is it a museum audience? a fast-food diner? a packaging company? an environmentalist? What language is the project using? Who are its comrades and competitors? Where will it live? Online, in a science/children's/art museum, on a Wall Street subway platform?

Because class is so short, you are not expected to make a polished and complete work. But you will need to use creative inquiry AND research all the way through the 7 weeks. Development comes from both outside and inside. These strategies do not need to line up in the beginning. But you need to pull the threads of both making and research.

You are expected to experiment with form (making, designing, testing). Do not leave this for last. Your blog entries should be an ongoing record of the work you are developing.

It is important to demonstrate that the project is informed by research and a strong (if basic) knowledge of the field - what research is available, what has been accomplished already, and in what contexts.

For your final, you can strive to make a completed project, but this is a very short time frame. At the very least, please be prepared to show prototypes, experiments and a proposal for the finished work. This proposal is comprised of writing and images (diagrams, drawings, fabricated prototypes, collages, videos, etc).