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Artists: Marcelo Alejandro Ramirez Garcia-Rojas & Ricardo Alberto Ramirez Garcia-Rojas
Year: 2019 – 2021
Materials: Plant cellulose and fungal mycelium

About Nanacatl

Pronounced: “NAH-NAH-CAH-TL” (-TL Pronounced like -ttle in “little” or “rattle”) Definition: Nanacatl = Fungus
Language: Nahuatl, native language spoken throughout Mexico, most notably by the Azetc / Mexica peoples
Featured on the Colorado Mycological Society Website.

Artist Statement

The Human species has a tendency to illustrate life with pyramids. Historically, the pyramid has been used in architecture to symbolize power, social status, spirituality, and knowledge. Presently, due to the common practice of ecologically unsustainable methods in art and manufacturing, it is our responsibility as a species to ally with the ancient, highly-intelligent, and powerful decomposers of our planet, Fungi.

Nanacatl (Fungus) is a sustainably created piece using plant cellulose bonded by fungal mycelium. The pyramid was constructed as a combination of modern building materials and future, mycelium-based, biocomposite technologies.

Nanacatl is a beacon, not only for the potential that naturally derived fungal materials have for sustainable construction, but also for the multilevel interconnectivity and symbiosis these organisms play in our human lives and existence as a species. This project aims to inspire future generations of builders and mycologists alike to employ the power of fungi in molding the trajectory of our Earth.

Artist Bios

Marcelo Alejandro Ramirez Garcia-Rojas is a graduate of the University of Denver where he studied International Development and Studio Art. He has been involved with the Museum of Outdoor Arts since 2017, where he began his career in the Arts as an intern in the MOA Design and Build Program. Marcelo has exhibited works in Colorado, Texas, and Cuba.

Ricardo Alberto Ramirez Garcia-Rojas is a graduate of Harvard University where he studied Psychology and Filmmaking. He holds a Masters Degree in Agriculture, Environment, and Sustainability Sciences from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. During his time there, he conducted research with the United States Department of Agriculture employing entomopathogenic fungi as a biological control for mosquitoes and the diseases they vector.

The Ramirez Garcia-Rojas Brothers’ fascination with fungus began thanks to expert mycologist Paul Stamets’ work on the many potential uses of fungi in biotechnology. Inspired by Stamets’ work, the Brothers embarked on a journey of extensive research and experimentation on various uses of fungi, ranging from natural pesticides to biodegradable building materials.

When not working with fungi, the Brothers can be found kayaking, birding, or fishing in and around their home, the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.