Julia van den Bosch

Mushrooms and Fractals

Prism Virtual Festival logo

Magic mushrooms, hallucination and alchemy...

This was my contribution to the Prism Virtual Festival, which was available online from 26 May to 31 July 2020 and had the theme 'In search of (im)POSSIBILITIES'.

Magic Mushrooms, hallucination and alchemy...

Magic mushrooms, hallucination and alchemy... work in progress

'Curiouser and curiouser said Alice' and it is true that the more you look down the rabbit hole the more you see that is weird and wonderful.

My fascination with toadstools, mushrooms and fungi started with a fallen autumnal oak leaf, which then led to the exploration of what lay beneath the leaf and the whole world of curious forms of nature that grew in the undergrowth.

In search of (im)possibilities has been a very interesting journey, especially now that being in lockdown and 'shielding' have given much extra time for research.

Magic Mushrooms
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The Black inkcap toadstools shown here, as well as being 'magical mushrooms' used for psychotropic intent, are also useful. They dissolve themselves (deliquescence) and in doing so form black ink. This ink can be used in artwork as it is permanent on paper. Just boil a little water, add cloves, or urine! The mushroom is edible but does not mix with alcohol. So perhaps don't try this at home!

In working towards the Prism Festival, to add additional work for the exhibition, I was also fascinated to discover the link between psychedelic mushrooms – magic mushrooms – and fractals. Especially as Magic mushrooms are beginning to draw the attention of the science and health community in their search for ways and means to help in these strange times. Before alchemy was considered a synonym for magic, it was a laboratory science, a precursor to science as we know it, so it seems to be coming full circle as part of the interconnected web.

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Fractals are common visions for people who use psychedelic mushrooms. Fractals hold the formula that runs the dynamics of life and existence itself. Bright spots of energy flow are looped and branch infinitely to the fractals core, depicting the never ending cycle of life. Fractals can be thought of as never-ending patterns – self similar across different scales. They are a non regular geometric shape that has the same degree of irregularity on all scales no matter how large or how small.

According to some scientific research, 'investigations into fractal geometry, coupled with the use of magic mushrooms, challenge our former understanding of life, consciousness and human evolution. They hold the key to designing highly efficient, less environmentally harmful systems and structures by mimicking the base code of nature itself'. Hence the interest at this particular time.

Quite fascinating what could materialise from a hallucination! Alchemy in its true sense and at its most magical.

But I look at fractals and what I also see is the wonder of a kaleidoscope.