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Solutions (Tiebreakers) (2021)


Installation: 16" x 24" x 24". Reindeer lichen, glass vases, 1300 litmus paper strips, water, vinegar, baking soda, tape

Digital video: 2:26 mins

On view: MOZAIK Future Art Awards: Reimagining Democracy

Under what conditions will something contradict itself, become fractured, replicate the oppositional framework within which it is nested, or—alternatively—embrace its other side or half, or become whole or integrated? “Difference” can entail incompatibility or integration. Litmus paper’s color-changing ability comes from lichens, which are fungi-algae associations that extend their intrinsic mutualism outward. Biologist Scott Gilbert noted, “We are all lichens,” meaning human bodies are also associations of co-functioning organisms, rather than entities isolated from nature or each other. Here, clouds of lichen anchor and buoy the test and dream of democracy; the color break in the ties indicates not a “winner,” but deconstruction of an antagonistic logic of “other.” Like incredibly diverse lichens, we can ground and express our differences through mutualism, rather than separatism or exploitation. 

Detail views (click to enlarge):

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