On November 4, 2012, I led members of my PAT 101 class, and Prof. Tim James’s mycology lab — “The Mycotics” — on a mushroom foray in honor of John Cage’s 100th birthday. Cage was a friend of the late renowned UMich mycologist Alexander Smith and discussed foraging for mushrooms in the woods around Ann Arbor with Smith in his writings. What better way to honor him?
The Mycotics provided texts about mushrooms, which we used as the basis for musique concrète compositions. Fragments of these compositions were played on boomboxes and texts were read aloud according a score that used mushroom spore prints to generate event choices and timings.