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arendse krabbe & mirko nikolić

Sensory situation performed in parallel in Tijuca forest, Rio de Janeiro, and in Paljakka, Finland. As part of Jäkäläfest/Lichen Fest, organised by Mustarinda Association, Hyrynsalmi. 5 August 2018.

The following text is an instruction that we invite you to bring outside to read at a site where you are in companionship with lichen beings. The text can also be read detached from the company of lichen in which case it becomes an imaginary instruction.

The text and the sensory situation that follows the practice of it have been orchestrated once in two different locations and two groups of people situated simultaneously in Tijuca forest in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and at the edges of Paljakka nature reserve in Kainuu, Finland on August 5. 2018. Enjoy and feel free to experiment.

We are talking to you and we are listening from two distant locations;
arendse in Tijuca forest in Rio de Janeiro and mirko in Paljakka reserve in Kainuu
They can’t be more different to one another, as ecotopes, as communities
We talk through difference, in a matter of entanglements
Our common language is english entangled with finnish and portuguese

From and within these two hemispheres we are in a simultaneous encounter with lichens
Yet there is no proper name for this creature, only for their fungi
Let’s take this in
We don’t know how to address them, at least scientifically
They are complex systems unable to delineate, a network structure of extremophiles that drifts
They embody more names that we can pronounce, they are of the land, of the wind, they are cosmic

Now bring a crystal with you, you might need it
Otherwise, you may find one, spot the shimmers of quartz in the sun with the edge of an eye
Crystal and you, now you can meet a lichen companion

We advise you to look for someone from the crustose kind
The ones that resemble clouds of stardust sprinkled over rocks
Or fruticose, the ones that camouflage as shrubs
Transhemispheric vagrants, there are kins of usnea genus between Paljakka and Tijuca
Find a rock with a lichen where you can sit or lie down
Or a bark vested in a lichenised coating, or a beard-like mesh floating in between the branches
Maybe you can embrace it, be embraced by it
The rock and the lichen, the vegetal and the lichen
Lichen craves the changing wetness and the dryness, the underground character and the solar domains
Surfaces that shift between warm and cool, not easy bodies to hold on
Cling on it closer
Place your ear on a lichenised surface, and your fingers can touch other lichenised surfaces
It will take you places, deep and far, miniature and immense
Keep the quartz closeby, it is another experienced traveller of metamorphic grounds
Now let lichen and crystal stretch out towards us, tracing our commons and differences

Not everything is interconnected equally, yet it is, we are a part of the same filaments and
entangled forces as they ebb and flow through you and me, us and them
And through lichen now, an extraordinary group of drifters
Now one ear is listening to the lichen and its support creature, the other ear is listening to the air space

Feel that lichen knows no kingdom, no master
Lichen makes alliances that are free from classifications and borders
Start letting go of the kingdom that has been assigned to us at birth
Human and animal are not in our stars, or not only, we might be able to trust other constellations and attractions
And let yourself get into the movement within the rock, within the lichen and you, the encounter and space
Now how would it feel to be a fungus and an alga entwined with filaments
That stretch out between multiple dimensions of life and elements

At this moment allow yourself to listen - lichens tell you about the tropical rainforest and the taiga
The steps of animals that touches them, the insects that passes by and how it feels to be between a solid surface and air
They like the stability, in them there are thoughts of drift in space too
Your ear is touching it, press harder or lighter, feel the surface tension, listen to the meeting in between you
One possibility amongst thousands is to meet a
crustose lichen potentially rhizocarpon geographicum, they grow slow, relative to animal and vegetal speeds

They grow in sync as the rock advances
Rhizocarpon geographicum is multicellular and is a eukaryote
A much more stratified manifold than their ancestors bacteria and archaea
Now we travel down the scale, into a miniature ecosystem inside its thallus
Organisms interweaved by organisms interweaved by organisms

There is something of the sky in them, they open up outwards, spherically or rhizomatically
Stretching out between earth and space, a form of life in unstable terrains in transition

Don’t remove your ears just yet, let the travel enter you
Let the lichen point both downwards and upwards
In all directions there are spaces and times - encounters - to listen to

Death and life, other domains of matter and spirit sing their inner tunes
Conductors of carbon, but also conversing with metals
Alchemists of immortality perhaps

Death and life, other domains of matter and spirit sing their inner tunes
Conductors of carbon, but also conversing with metals
Alchemists of immortality perhaps

If you feel that you cannot give in grab hold of your crystal and get energy from the crystal
lines that exist with it, they will provide you a path

Think the planet when it was still red, no green, rocks in conversation with oxygen exuded by
cyanobacteria from shallow waters
Life did not thrive in dry lands
Sometimes in these long ebbs and flows of water and early life, they crawled out,
but who were they?
Lichenised fungi congregations assemblies conspiracies emergencies colonies greenhouses
You cannot make it alone on these continents, not in early Devonian and not now
For the previous 150 years, modern people thought lichen were two, mycobiont and photobiont
Stretching their understanding of identity
Since two years we know that they are three and maybe more
Complex and complicated non-identities
We follow the potential threesome of algae and fungi and yeasts
In-weaving with substrata, the rock, the tree, exchanging molecules, but also touches, caresses

We are in a lichen sanctuary now
Not a usual one delimited and drawn by humans
Lichenisations support anthropos and vegetals and animals
We are sitting in a place they have made, they are here before moving on elsewhere
Now you may turn attention on the touch of the wind, the breeze that permeates the forest
Let it move your soul, your breath, as it moves lichen too
Moving within weather systems and cosmic storms
Just as the travel of rocks inhabited by cryptoendolithic communities are within you
Communities that live within rock pores

A being inside, a close relation, very close but distinct from symbiosis which belongs only to the living
Do we know how it is to conspire with non-life?

Space is constantly changing, coming further closer and apart, and what was thought of as home
is dissolving, it is non-existent

If you feel disturbed grab hold of your crystal and feel how it brings you balance
Now be ready for an interplanetary journey of lithopanspermia

Let the thallus carry you, now you are inside of it or them, there is always room for another
partner, another constellation

Imagine the transfer of life between planets and the landing on Mars of a meteorite inhabited by
cryptoendolithic communities
How these communities transform the surface of Mars to lichenised surfaces that are in
conversation with the one your hands are touching on the rock at this very moment
How this might happen and might be happening elsewhere now
On Jupiter’s moons or in another place we do not know the name of
They gaze upwards and spread like a nebula, with many gravity pulls
Being drifters out of touch with our constructions of a past or a future

There are movements in between the surface of Mars and cryptoendolithic communities, fossils of
lichens, spaces between planets and you listening, we share a common ancestry
We are part of the same circulation differently and asymmetrically
Are lichens transforming or terraform Mars
Earth was lichenised, terraformed
Holobiontic beings drifting across the elemental pathways and moving the elements themselves
The thallus becomes the rock’s weather
In one way dissolves its consistency, in another releases the metallic flows
New acids and oxalates and minerals are forged in sticky interactions
Boundaries and desires are unmade and remade and we are part of these swervings now

They carry echoes of places, from the edges of this world
Dry desert valleys of Antarctica
Reindeer’s light trot
Jaguar’s smooth crawl
Now reverberating within the liquid of your ear, let it surrender to the vibrating forces and
interplanetary messages between two hemispheres, and more
Follow the reverberations
Follow the atmospheric circulations
Spherically in tune with lichen, as trio or quartet or choir

Thanks to Mustarinda Association for the kind support in developing this work.

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