Communal Mycorrhizal Network

A High School Park Digital Art Installation

“There is a world under the earth full of magic and mystery. It holds the consciousness of nature’s connections to all living things.” -Fantastic Fungi

Funnel Digital Painting, Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Funnel, Digital Painting, Karen Hunter McLaughlin

This fascinating world includes the mycorrhizal fungi present in 90% of all plant life, most colossally in the micro-network of trees. Mycelial hyphae create a symbiotic relationship that benefits all plant life surrounding them and have been around for approximately 400 million years. According to Smithsonian Magazine, trees of the same species are communal, and will often form alliances with trees of other species. Forest trees have evolved to live in cooperative, interdependent relationships, maintained by communication and a collective intelligence.  

Funnel, Digital Painting, Karen Hunter McLaughlin

Kinship addresses this cooperative life form– drawing it’s own connections to nature’s beneficial effect on humans.

Specific trees in the park are marked with signs that are augmented with animated digital drawings. Visitors are instructed to download the free Artivive app on their mobile device. Standing at a marked position with mobile devices pointed at specific cards, the visitor can see animated sections of stylized, mycorrhizal “paintings” superimposed over the tree and it’s invisible fungal root systems.

Here are a series of links dedicated to teaching more about the mycorrhizal network of trees and plants.