The Mushroom Cloud Project - CODAworx

The Mushroom Cloud Project

Submitted by Nancy Baker Cahill

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Client: Aorist Art

Location: Miami, FL, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Art lawyer

Sarah Conley Odenkirk

AR asset creation and integration

Shaking Earth Digital

Sound

Anna Luisa Petrisko

Overview

Mushroom Cloud is a multi-faceted, participatory, and immersive art experience in Miami, FL. This artwork exists in augmented reality (AR); in sculptural objects; in the embedded and associated expository “Blueprint” and writings; in the conceptual framework of the blockchain; and in the form of NFTs. Mushroom Cloud is informed by the architecture and function of fungal colonies, or mycelium networks, that form the connective tissue of all carbon-based life on earth.

Mushroom Cloud begins as an animated AR drawing created by artist Nancy Baker Cahill and accessed through her free 4th Wall app. Viewers experience a bespoke digital artwork, geolocated in two separate locations, which will appear to emerge from the ocean surface, grow upward and explode into a mushroom cloud. Then the cap of the cloud metamorphoses into a web of mycelial filaments mimicking rhizoid structures, and branching hyphae spread overhead across the sky.

Goals

This is a project focused on accountability; one that values sharing and conserving resources, and strengthening networked systems through participation, communication and advocacy. Together these prompts aim to inspire us to create a global, intentional, and conscientious network of mutual support and respect which ultimately provides a strong platform from which collective problem-solving can occur.

Process

In collaboration with art attorney Sarah Conley Odenkirk, Nancy Baker Cahill dug deeper into what it means to be part of a decentralized and sustainable network. The mycelium in the sky--a “cloud” of hyphae--is the point of departure for the NFT experience. It indexes the ideals of Web 3.0, decentralized blockchain technologies, and the accountability inherent in the NFTs’ armatures (imprecisely called “smart contracts”). Collectors have the opportunity to collect a unique NFT bundle; a bespoke Unity video capture of the AR artwork, seven sculptural “nodes” in the form of exquisitely hand-crafted, transparent Caribbean blue cubes, each with a single pearlescent sphere, or “spore” floating inside, a digital image of the cube, a diptych of the Unity animation, and the opportunity for the collector to have the AR artwork geolocated in the location of their choosing. The blue cubes echo the hues of the AR artwork, and acknowledge the precarious future of Miami, FL and other coastal cities threatened by rising seas. The suspended “spore” is a reminder of the power of each individual to act as ground zero for the germination of another mycelium structure.