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Wisdom Within: The Ritual of Amadou

Wisdom Within: The Ritual of Amadou

PhD Candidate Mari Koppanen's doctoral project

Academic summary

Amadou is a unique fungal material derived from the polypore mushroom called Fomes fomentarius, better known as tinder mushroom. It has a fascinating historical background and offers a range of health benefits. Amadou provides a soothing sensation upon touch, serving as a tactile bridge between humans and the fungal organism. ”Wisdom Within: The Ritual of Amadou” takes a contemporary approach to this material, weaving cultural-historical and creative perspectives into an interdisciplinary project. This approach enables an in-depth study of Amadou, embracing its historical, cultural, and sensory dimensions, with artistic creations positioned at its core.

The historical-cultural part of the project recognizes that Amadou is not merely a material but also an experience, a community, and a ritual. It translates the traditional use of the material into informative documentation highlighting how the survival of the Amadou crafts depends on a small group of individuals. Using ethnographic methods, the research actively engages in the process of learning the craft, delving into its rich history, and connecting with the individuals who continue to practice the craft tradition in a small Transylvanian village of Corund.

Through artistic creations, the tacit knowledge of the material is transformed into objects that invite interaction and engagement. By bringing Amadou to life through tangible objects, the project makes this material accessible and relatable to a wider audience. This aspect of the research emphasizes the soothing and grounding nature of the material, questioning why we feel a primitive connection to Amadou. The objects serve as dissemination instruments as well as embodiments of the sensory experiences that Amadou elicits in our bodies and minds — similar to what the craftsmen describe in their daily work with the material.

Project facts

Project title Wisdom Within: The Ritual of Amadou
Project manager Mari Koppanen
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Start date
End date
Project status Active
Department Design

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