Contemporary Design

Fungal future 2120

by Alejandra Perea Alarcón
a dark forest with fungi growing from a tree


It’s 2120 and we’re living in a utopia (or dystopia?), we worship, eat, communicate with, teach and research fungi, the uses are infinite. It has saved us from our path of human destruction, we now live in harmony with nature. Intuitive and indigenous wisdom has become our base for a conscious future, as new is not always better than the old. Fungi is now our main source of subsistence and we’ve changed our beliefs for worshiping the eukaryotic organisms, creating new rituals and temples.

Fungal future 2120 is my attempt to make people imagine a future in which we communicate with fungi and they’ve helped us evolve as a human species. Is it a better scenario? What might it feel like to inhabit such a future? Which path should we follow for this scenario to happen?


Fungi consumption is an ancient practice, and it can be traced for at least 18 700 years ago in Spain. Mushrooms and mycelium have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a millennia, and some mesoamerican indigenous cultures such as the Mayans had a really strong connection with Fungi as well.

It was just recently that fungi got its own kingdom and recognition, mycologists were put in a corner of the plant sciences department and it’s only been recent that there’s been an interest in fungi and technologies available to discover more about this amazing kingdom.

American mycologist Paul Stamets predicted that mushrooms would help save the world, as we are now discovering more and more species. In most speculative scenarios the future is shown fully metal, robots involved and life in outer space is possible, but why search for answers outside if our own planet is full of surprises. Fungi are such a fascinating kingdom, thanks to their ability to digest rocks and soil into life is that humanity exists on earth, they have so much to teach us about survival and life, and maybe our ancestors were right in worshiping them. It’s been proven that selected mushrooms do have neurotrophic properties that can be beneficial to humans, so what would happen if we trade animal plant based protein for fungi based products?

a mindmap about fungi


The final outcome is a short video in which a genderless fungal voice tells a monologue adressed to humans. It suggests that in the year 2120 humans now live in harmony with nature and as they started worshiping fungi. The video invites the audience to reflect on reaching out to the fungi kingdom to reach a more sustainable future.

sketches of fungi installations


Sabaratnam, V., Kah-Hui, W., Naidu, M., & Rosie David, P. (2013). Neuronal health - can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?. Journal of traditional and complementary medicine, 3(1), 62–68.

Cookie, R. (2020) The Future Is Fungal: Why The 'Megascience' Of Mycology Is On The Rise. The Guardian.

McGuire, Thomas M. (1982) Ancient Maya Mushroom Connections. A Transcendental Interaction Model. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 14(3)

De Borhegyi, Carl (2010)The origin of a Mushroom Religion. Hidden in plain sight. Mushroom, Venus, and Fleur de lis symbolism in Pre-Columbian Art.                                        

Newberg, Matt (2019) Beyond Impossible: How fungi could become our future protein source. HNGRY

Staughton  John (2020) How Are Mushrooms More Similar to Humans than Plants? Science ABC

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