Listening is a still-evolving series. It began when a small travel grant enabled me to document some of the spectacularly varied species of lichens in Scotland’s Highlands and Islands.
Lichens draw their sustenance directly from the atmosphere, making them reactive indicators of airborne pollutants: they’re the canaries in our global climatic coal mine. An increasing number of lichen species are rapidly disappearing, even in areas far removed from industrialization. Though lichens have been with us since we began, and have traditionally been used for dyes, medicines, and sometimes for food, their precise ecological function is still not fully understood.
The forms and placement of lichens and fungi suggest languages to me, languages so quietly insistent that they might also imprinted at the cellular level in other organisms. These languages might convey messages from coexistent species that homo sapiens is unable, unwilling or too arrogant to decipher.
The Listening Series has been created with the generous support of:
Women's Studio Workshop / National Endowment for the Arts, The Ragdale Foundation, and I-Park. The early development of the series was supported by Catwalk and a Columbia College Chicago Faculty Development Grant.
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