Although the FEELed Labbers are mostly on summer rest, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to join forces with FCCS 2090 (no, that is not a typo) Woodhaven Artist-in-Residence, Tessa Zettel, to conjure up a bit of lichen love.
Tessa was visiting sylix territories on behalf of the T. Rudzenskaite Memorial Amateur Lichenologists Society, which has been in operation for 72 years since its founding in 2018. After hearing more from Tessa about the society’s history and activities, the participants in this Fringe Natures event nosed around lichen HQ, examined lichen through various kinds of technological prosthetics, bantered about various lichen philosophies, and collectively penned a few poetic tributes to these queer little beings inside of whom reside wild and wondrous worlds. What’s in a name?, we wondered (noting that species of local lichen bear such juicy monikers as “edible horsehair,” “electrified millipede,” and “arctic ring”) How does language bring us into closer (or different) relationship with lichen? What are you touching when you touch lichen? What changes when you go through the portal into lichen ways of being? What kinds of new possibilities for collaborative worlding arise?
To be an amateur or an enthusiast means to love something. Our time together ended with a Skype conversation with lichenologist Trevor Goward, coordinator of Ways of Enlichenment, associate member of the UBC Botany Department, and true lichen lover. While some of us may have joined the event out of passing curiosity, or perhaps even as budding enthusiasts, Trevor and the society opened up a view to what it might mean to be into lichen for the long-term.
So: what’s your commitment? We look forward to welcoming Tessa back at Woodhaven soon to make space to keep exploring this fringey question…