walking out of sleep (2021-)
encounters with lichen territory

My work is made in the landscape: on foot, carrying my own shelter, and leaving no trace. I walk alone for up to a week at a time, often with a tent and sometimes without. These intimate experiences with nature have made me more conscious than ever of the need to ask questions about how science and society have shaped our rules of engagement with the more than human world. Walking out of sleep is both the time when my thoughts are most lucid, and a process. Until I made work in this way, I was asleep.

7% of the earth’s surface
18,000 known species
2 or more beings in symbiosis

an area of knowledge 
an area of land, a region
an activity or experience

This is lichen territory

I became curious by how little I know about these abundant ecosystems. One of their unique growth patterns absorbed me; black spores outlining crustose communities, like borders on human made maps. Science tells me that they are map lichen, or to use their Linnaean Latin name, Rhizocarpon Geographicum. Through observation and close engagement these ‘maps’ became my navigational device to enter into lichen territory.

On the first night I spent with the lichen I became unwell. It wasn’t the lichen’s fault, it was my inability to survive in these territories. I started to collect data during these visits; how far I was walking, the weather conditions, the terrain, the stage of my monthly cycle. Back home in London the Natural History Museum archive presented an opportunity for extended observation. My study began with map lichen specimens collected in places I had visited, but soon the collection began to inform the field trips.

My observations of the physicality of the collection merge with the fieldwork and data, each sheet representing a single day.



Using Format