Desire Trails

Lichen Walk 1

May 4, 2014   12–2pm

An Expedition with A. Laurie Palmer (AIR ’14)
Two dates! Sunday May 4 and May 11
Space is limited | Please RSVP here

Lichen Walk 1 on May 4 is booked up! Please join us on May 11 for Walk 2.

Join Artist in Residence A. Laurie Palmer (AIR ’14) for an uphill walk in the company of California Lichen Society President Shelly Benson, and other distinguished guests. The excursion serves as an informal introduction to some of the many species of lichen thriving in the Marin Headlands sun and mist, as well as an opportunity to re-direct our gaze into a small and specific part of the world, to see what surprising counter-realities we might find.

This two-hour walk will begin at the parking lot at Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands and end at Headlands Center for the Arts, where walkers are encouraged to pop into the Graduate Fellow Exhibition opening reception.

A Lichen Perspective

A few concepts to get you thinking.

Lichen grow slowly, and live much longer than we do, bridging human time and rock time. Watching lichen for an afternoon might slow us down  to a metabolic rate more responsive than our daily rhythms to imagining time frames of planetary change, and how humans are affecting them.

Lichen(s) mess(es) with our grammar; each one is two, part algae, part fungus, in a mutually beneficial symbiosis. As biologist Scott Gilbert said, “we are all lichens,” not individuals but groups, constructed out of multiple relationships.  (Thank you D. Haraway!) And how could this distributed “self”-understanding change how we construct and navigate the world?

The porous outer surface of a lichen, exposed to light and air and moisture and often intricately folded, is called its “cortex.”  Our human cerebral cortex is also intricately folded, but housed in a second shell. Much brain science is devoted to describing what happens inside this shell, but what if we understood ourselves as turned inside out, exposed to, and utterly dependent on, the world as our mind (as well as our source of light and air and moisture)?