One and the care of many (learning from lichen)
One and the care of many (learning from lichen)

One and the care of many (learning from lichen)

for S+T+ARTS Repairing the Present

Working with the assistance of In4Art, Witveen+Bos and YES!Delft. (more: HERE)

One and the Care of Many addresses lichen as a starting point to consider notions of collaboration and care between species. Lichens are a multispecies population; mycelial and algae partners living together in a flourishing and site-specific complexity of architecture and community; like a city.

Occupying six percent of the earth and calculably metabolising two gigatonnes per year of atmospheric carbon globally, lichens are both ancient and current. 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.

This multimodal research and production took  as a starting point lichen (a symbiosis of fungus and algae), to reflect on interspecies notions of care, of micro modalities of ‘nature’, and of inviting nature of all scales and dimensions back into cities; of wilding and microrewilding.

The research and production consolidated into three lines of enquiry, of: 


A Love-Story

An invitation to Microrewild

Above: Windows through which the universe shines

Single screen video of immersive projection + sound environment. 2022

WONDERMENT:Sourced from a real-time visualisation of voxel dataset from the microCT scan of a small hooded rosette lichen (Physcia adscendens), from a cannal wall in Den Haag. 

A projection VR experience in the Cave, HLRS was filmed to convert to a 2D projection + sound for display in Re/Wild, Maxxi Rome, 2022

The result was a micro-macro immersivenavigation through a 1 cm piece of lichen; a galaxy and a pinhead.

Made with the assistance of the Media Solution Center HLRS

TU Delft for Micro CT, sound artist Felicity Mangan for sounds.


Flourish (above)is a speculative interspecies love story- between a fungus and algae to make wonderful lichen. The protagonist is a fungal element, searching for an algae partner, to form a lifelong interspecies relationship and make beautiful lichen.

I was interested in that first touch between a fungus and an algae; the first embrace across species at a microbial scale and in lichen-time, where a human year passes in a lichen second.

Drawing on atmospheric data from the City of the Hague and modelling for ‘nature characteristics’ to identify the real world site in Den Haag that has the least contact with nature; the furthest from nature (with the assistance of Witteveen +Bos data analysis, and data from the City of the Hague). Using photogrammetry, digital design to build a digital twin of this site, as the site for the storytelling.

Made with digitial designer and world builder, Charleton Mercelina. Sounds by Felicity Mangan.


The 3rd line of inquiry in this project was a consideration of urban materials and a search for a ‘lichen invitation tile’; an urban surface that would invite lichen growth in a microrewilding.

Because lichen grows so slowly (less than 1 cm a year) this was a science-based speculative outcome to be made in geopolymer- next generation carbon neutral concrete-type material, with design areas for water, dust and lichen. Working with Beton-Lab Designers

For the gallery presentation in Re/Wild, Maxxi, Rome, I developed a wall tile work reflection, a supersized manifestation of a microgreenman, a micro-spirit for the project.

Referencing the Euro-pagan Greenman and 19th century drawings by botanist, Ernst Haeckel, to generate a face of lichens,

This Archimbolodo-stylesupersized microgreenman was based on old and present lichens, but also included newer and emerging lichens: the genus of lichen found to survive in space, the lichen absorbing gamma radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster and a climate responsive lichen emerging in the warmer winters of the Dutch new forests on recently re-claimed lands.

For more about research as it unfolded: HERE


  • In4Art
  • Witteveen +Bos
  • HLRS, Stuttgart: Dr Uwe Wössner and Matthias Hauser
  • The City of the Hague
  • Charleton Mercelina expert 3D designer and worldbuilder
  • Dr Laurens Sparius and the Bryologische en Lichenologische Werkgroup (BLWG), Utrecht
  • Benton Lab: designers and material experts in geopolymer
  • Faculteit Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen, TU Delft, NL: microCT scanning