This project addresses lichen as a starting point to consider notions of collaboration and care between species in the context of endangered city ecosystems. Like cities, lichens are a multispecies population; mycelial and algae partners living together in a flourishing and site-specific complexity of architecture and community. Occupying six percent of the earth and calculably metabolising two gigatonnes per year of atmospheric carbon globally, lichens are both ancient and current. They are at once micro-terraformers, atmospheric bioindicators, ecosystem cornerstones and discrete non-human storytellers of that blink-of-an-eye millennium in which humans have apexed across the earth. As a multi-member microbial community and trade-based symbiosis, lichens speak to innovative approaches to interdisciplinarity, partnerships and notions of care between species. They role-model collaborative living and urban rewilding at the city surface level.
Through the brief to reimagine nature in the city, Penelope Cain presents a series of lichen-centric experimental provocations. From how to imagine urban micro-rewilding, a non-human storytelling through the eyes of an algal protagonist at lichen-time, to a consideration of microbial gestures of care and the role of touch, and a prototype proposition for flourishing on urban surfaces.
Text by: Manuel Ciraqui in booklet REWILD exhibition
The work has been exhibited at:
2022 ■ MAXXI (IT)
2023 ■ RADIUS (NL)
February 2022 – December 202
Witteveen+Bos was as a residency host. The project was part of the S+T+ARTS Regional Centers project Repairing the Present and has received funding from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement LC01641664.