“I have come to conclusion that much can be learned about music by devoting oneself to the mushroom”
John Cage : A Mycological Foray is a two-volume collection containing texts and images based on musician John Cage’s lifelong research on mushrooms. The work contains essays detailing Cage’s mycological observations, photographs that capture the joy of his foraging, as well as the script for Cage’s 1983 performance, ‘MUSHROOMS et Variationes’. The poster contains beautiful illustrations made in collaboration with illustrator Lois Long and botanist Alexander H. Smith, as well as ephemera related to fungi printed onto tracing paper.
The section which detailed how Cage’s fungi and foraging has allowed him to realize the importance of continually learning and relearning things throughout his life was particularly fascinating. Cage, who taught composition at The New School, also led a class called Mushroom Identification where he would take students out to identify mushrooms in the wild. The world of music and the world of mushrooms resonate with one another. Just like how every time spent with music is unique, the world of fungi is always full of surprises, always baffling us humans who try and put order onto it.