About (S)Edition

Craig SEditionVersion 2


Why was the mushroom invited to the party?   Because he was such a fun-gi.  

(thanks and a toast of Lake Erie water to Mira Bartok)



A particular form or version of a published book.


Conduct inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state.

Clive Philpott, once in charge of book acquisitions at MOMA, stated that artists’ books were not artists’ books unless they were part of an edition of at least 100 copies.  His opinions are often still embraced, particularly in academic environs.

A few activities that have been defined as sedition by the United States government: 'secret machinations' (Alien and Sedition Act, 1789);  'teaching, suggesting, defending or advocating any criticism of the government,' including to 'utter, print, write or publish' such ideas (Espionage Act, 1917).  More recently, there was 'domestic terrorism,' which could easily be interpreted to include environmental and anti-globalization activism (The Patriot Act, 2001). While sedition can consist of overt action, it can also be furtive, undermining from within. 

Some people have uneasy, squeamish thoughts when they look at fungus: it’s something surreptitious, uncontrollable; it lives hidden underground in familiar locales, ready to spring to life unexpectedly, and it often manifests itself as part of the demise of another organism.

Fungus is an agent of change. I’m fascinated with its myriad forms, and I love to go in search of it.  I can become more excited by discovering a beautiful fungal growth than by perusing artwork 'discovered' for us by curators in contemporary museums.  When I was a child, the first time I had the intriguing feeling that the planet carried messages (texts, if you will) for those who were curious enough to look, was when I came upon a group of Amanita Muscaria, huddled together in a dark, secret space under tall pines.

Also known as Fly Agaric, Amanita Muscaria is a fungus that can be found almost worldwide.  It is distinctive, clownish in appearance, the 'toadstool' of familiar fairy tale illustrations (a literary fungus, said Marcia Peck). Its image is so pervasive, many people don’t realize that it exists in nature, is not a fictitious creation. Amanita Muscaria is psychoactive, and is often thought to be the source of the ancient shamanistic drug of knowledge, Soma.  Reportedly, it is still in use as a ritual sacrament in certain Siberian tribes, and its use has been mythically linked to many ancient religions, including Christianity. Most shamanistic spiritual beliefs embody what would today be called an environmentalist's viewpoint; they are also mystical, and embrace and honor intuitive acumen, the polar opposite of rigid, academic intellectualism.

As I worked on the first copies of (S)Edition at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois, the area was inundated by continuous, copious thunderstorms, a possible manifestation of global environmental change.  A huge, amazing variety of fungi appeared as a result.

Amanita Muscaria was not among them.


Note: Amanita Muscaria is classified as poisonous by the Food and Drug Administration. 


(S)Edition was created with the generous support of:

A Henry Faurest Fellowship residency for Artist-Educators at Mary Anderson Center for the Arts, two residencies at the Ragdale Foundation, and full fellowship residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and Jentel.

Fabulous Studio Assistants for (S)Edition were: Jenny Kim, J.E. Baker, Cecile Webster and Heather L.G. Bella


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© Melissa Jay Craig 2015