Lichenscapes  創衣蔓生

2019 July / Solo Exhibition

Yonle Fabric Market 4th floor

T-Fashion #3007

Tzu-fen Lin is fascinated by such distinct species so close to us. She was inspired by its different forms and characteristics then decided to develop this topic into fiber art series. She reflects on herself comparing with lichens in challenging environments. Being an artist or a creator is often acquired perseverance under difficult circumstances. Nevertheless, they persist on their own rules and philosophy in certain way.

 

T Fashion is an experimental fashion hub located on the fourth floor of Yongle Fabric Market, Dadaocheng district in Taipei. Considering the venue location, Tzu-Fen collected multiple special fabrics and materials on the second floor and transformed them into giant fiber lichens pieces. When you walk inside Room 3007, you would see lichens growing vigorously covered on the wall. The venue then became a field for creators gathering and linking up with, boosting creativity to grow as lichens.

What is Lichen?

Lichens a unique composite organism. In fact, they are not one organisms. They are not plants. Nor are they in the fungus family. A lichen is a synthesis of a fungus (the mycobiont) and algae (the photobiont) and/or cyanobacteria. When these components live together with this mutualistic interaction, each providing some benefit to the other, they are known as symbionts. The combination result in a form called a thallus which is totally unlike either of the two participants. The lichen thallus can be quite large and conspicuous. Lichen also take on a variety of growth forms. Some dangle from the arm of tree (fruticose lichens), stand upright like tiny shrubs, some with leaf-like layers (foliose lichens) or lie flat and hug the surface of a rock (crustose lichens). It is estimated that lichens dominate 7% of Earth’s land surface. By releasing different acids, lichens can dissolve the rock they grow on and can greatly accelerate the weathering of the rock. Lichens were among the earliest colonizers (so-called pioneer species) of some land. Some scientists interfered that lichens might paving the way for plants with more hospitable settings. 

 

Lichens are often seen on rocks, walls, twigs, bark, soil and even on tombstones. Different kinds of lichens have adapted to survive in some of the most severe environments on Earth: across arctic tundra, hot dry deserts and rocky coasts. 

 

Similar to plants, all lichens photosynthesize. They need sunlight to provide energy to make their own food. More specifically, the algae part in the lichen produce carbohydrates and the fungi part take those carbohydrates to grow and reproduce. The fungus part also protects the algae from desiccation and obtains water and minerals. Thus, lichens are capable of surviving extremely low levels of water content in dry periods. Although lichens typically grow in naturally harsh environments, most lichens are sensitive to manufactured pollutants and to air quality. Hence, they have been widely used as pollution indicator organisms. Lichens are non-parasitic and do no harm to any plants they grow on. In fact, they provide shelter for insects and spiders, offer nesting material for birds, supply as foods especially to arctic animals like reindeer.

Lichens are so widely seen but hardly known. Actually, lichens are incredibly important for establishing new ecosystems by creating soil, providing food for animals, preventing soil erosion, and for monitoring pollution levels in our environment. Not to mention lichens are quite useful as dyes, scents for perfumes and being used in the treatment of diverse diseases. 

Material:

textile waste, tree branch, 

fabric, laces, gauze

Material:

textile waste, wadded quilt, stone, fabric, laces, gauze

Special thanks:

Bamboo Curtain Studio

Mina Lu & Mei Lu

gREen Salon

Time-lapse video of Lichens

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