Mushroom Sex tells the story of an angsty, barely-18-year-old girl and a restless, nearly-40-year-old man who find themselves spending an awful lot of time together as their friends and family seem to understand them less and less. With plenty of beer, plenty of weed, plenty of Led Zeppelin, and plenty of sexual tension, they carve out a space for themselves safely away from the confusion of their changing lives. Bits of research about mushroom biology, including the fusion required for fungi reproduction, weave through the story to create an illuminating metaphor for the relationship growing between the unlikely pair. Spaced throughout the text, quiet, striking, close-up images of mushrooms push the metaphor even further, revealing the peace and beauty beyond the strangeness and dysfunction of the friendship.
In the original work, sixteen studio-lit photographs and a 3500-word essay function together in a 19.5” by 13.5” handmade book. Several strands of mushroom-colored ribbons bind the hardback covers, which are wrapped in pale, mushroom-colored book cloth. Printed on high-quality digital photo paper, the juxtaposed images and text throughout the book compel the viewer to explore the relationship between the two media and what each one adds to the overall story.
The essay was published in Columbia College Chicago's Fiction Writing Department's award-winning anthology, Hair Trigger 33, in the Spring of 2011. A supplemental 5x5-inch mini book of nine mushroom images, "Mushroom Sex, the images" is also available.