toward a resurgent symbiosis

installation at Open Space Visitor Center

for ART PARK 21

We are all Lichen:
toward a resurgent symbiosis

Lichens are made of at least one algal or cyanobacterial partner in symbiosis with two fungal species. These individuals create a sustained and balanced micro ecosystem. In science classes, we often learn of symbiotic relationships like freshwater mussels to host fish and rhinos to oxpecker birds. We concentrate on obvious symbiotic relationships, neglecting those of our own body and those more invisible to our eye. Human bodies are made up of more single-celled organisms than our own cells, introducing us to the possibility of being human-bacterial symbiotic micro ecosystems.

By interchanging symbiotic lichen relationships with those of the human to their bacteria and the world to the human, we can dislodge Anglo-Western ideas of human individualism that leads to issues of environmental crisis, injustice, and a lack of empathy and compassion between humans with other humans, and humans with their environment.

Using Donna Haraway’s book Staying with the Trouble, this project investigates the interrelationships of beings to one another, as well as the ways in which all parts of nature, including humans, create together triumphant and resonant ecosystems that have merged and altered throughout time. Human-made climate change is accelerating the rates of change.How will our infinite symbiotic relationships transform? When one species of being extirpates or expires, how will it’s partners react, and when might further reaching creatures perish due to reverberating consequences? How can an ecosystem recuperate? How can we create-together for a resurgent world?We are all lichen asks us to consider these questions in relationship to ourselves and our embodied surroundings. How can we create-together for a resurgent world?

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