Kitchen Art

heikki leis' moldy artistry

Afterlife: photography by Heikki Leis

You don’t have to go foraging in the distant woods to find fungi. All you need to do is go into your kitchen and inspect your vegetables, fruits, breads, and cheeses. If you’re lucky, no, I probably shouldn’t say lucky…rather, if you’re observant, you might see one or more molds growing on or more of these food items. Consider Rhizopus stolonifer, for instance. It looks exactly like a furry critter sleeping on your strawberries. Charming!

In a Wired Science interview — specifically, in comments on mold-inspired artwork — Cornell mycologist Kathie Hodge offers a series of captivating insights into the ubiquitous yet often overlooked world of fungal molds. Obviously, she delights in their presence. My favorite of Kathie’s comments re mold: “Maybe it’s like having obnoxious neighbors. Why expend energy shunning and avoiding them? You might as well befriend them. They probably have interesting parties.”

So make haste to visit this site:

5 thoughts on “Kitchen Art

  1. Sometimes visitors fear the inside of my fridge might be a rank and pestilential mold garden. My lab’s like that, but I assure you my kitchen is no moldier than average. Thanks for the bog, Larry!

  2. Oh yuck!!! I couldn’t even finish looking at that Wired slide show– it turned my stomach. Molds are NOT interesting, they’re disgusting and must be eradicated (but I’ll take a chanterelle any day). This is even more appalling than your ptarmigan excrement post. Tsk.

  3. Dear Ava Winkel, I’d rather eat a mold than a chanterelle any day —
    specifically, the Penicillium mold that elevates roquefort cheese from the ordinary to the transcendentally yummy. The mold in question was ranked as the sixth best fungal edible recently in Finland. Lawrence

  4. I would think that such visual cues concerning food’s edibility were meant to repel us. Or at least alert us, via shock and awe, to clean out the frig. How fun, though, to set aside aversion and see, in this arresting light, the lush colors and sculptural qualities of furry kitchen crud. Kudos to the photographer. Some of these flamboyant constructions could pass for pricey modern fiber art – or, scaled up, some shocking adornment Lady Gaga might choose to wear on her head.

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