The Charisma of Wild Mushrooms: Reassembling Science and Economy in Changing Ecologies (Shiho Satsuka, U of T)
Matsutake, the charismatic wild mushroom highly valued in Japan, thrive in human-intervened landscape. Yet, it has evaded centuries of human effort at deliberate cultivation as it requires complex symbiotic relationship with its living host trees. This talk examines the recently launched government-led “artificial cultivation” project. In particular, it focuses on the multidimensionality of interspecies and intraspecies translation practices of scientists and collaborating farmers. Their practices raise questions about what count as “artificial” and “cultivation” as well as human-nonhuman relationship. The multidimensionality of their practices place the project in ambivalent position between the manipulation of the fungus for capitalist resource extraction and the development of art of interspecies cohabitation as a response to the rapid industrialization, energy infrastructure development and climate change that the country has experienced since the mid-twentieth century.
Free to attend; open to public. Refreshments will be served.