Your background and practice is so much like the work Forest Tectonics we are watching. Merging into each other, shifting, transforming, floating in and out, but never really stop, separate or disconnect. Is that what fascinates you about lichen? Is it the symbiotic relationships within the lichen? How would you describe the role of lichen in your practice?
I have a background in architecture and lichen for me is a metaphor for everything that is not allowed, which breaks the rules of the conventional attitude towards spatial design. Being visual, decorative and hyper sensitive surfaces they are capable of creating these soft and intangible atmospheres and qualities that are hard to define and we often lack. While searching for lichen and embodying the slow and attentive perception of surroundings I bewilder and rewire my senses, revitalizing the untamed order of life. These complex organisms have so much to teach us that I just follow and surrender.
“Let the lichen into your mind. I invite you to celebrate diversity and embrace being one of the kind. Each individual contributes to a stronger whole just as they are. Don’t be square, be queer!”. This is a quote from a Lichen Manifesto. Could you tell us more, what the Lichen Manifesto is about?
I wrote a Lichen Manifesto first for myself, that I would remember and never forget the philosophy behind the visual artworks and my interpretation of life. Lichen Manifesto is my form of resistance, a way to defend my truth. It becomes particularly important when facing the rational and reductive ways of being. It is being complemented frequently with new observations and concepts. Whenever I feel low, I come back to it, read it and become empowered and aligned again.
You have used the term, symbiotic imagination, could you tell a bit more what you mean by that?
When I started to analyze my artworks, when are they being created, what informs particular forms, when do i feel like creating, I realized that my lichen observations in various scales, my memory while abstracting them and technological intuitive workflow actually creates these untraceable results. Interestingly, lichen grow forms that are often hard to identify even scientifically since different symbiotic agents are being activated by changing environmental conditions. This is what I call symbiotic imagination, collaboration of contrasting and often undefined factors that are intricately intertwined and dependent on the present moment and place.
You have also worked on educational projects. Last year you developed a learning kit for children called Lichen Grammar? Can you tell us about the process of turning your artworks and methods into teaching materials?
Before I think I have never analyzed so specifically why I do what I do and what exactly is my message. It was very important to scan my biographical story and ask myself why I stumbled upon lichen in the first place. Art is usually asking questions, not answering them, but clarifying the essence of the practice was very important for me to see a vision for the future and the purpose of it all. Now I strongly feel my mission.
You have said that you are practicing the art of noticing. Are there some tips you would like to share, for those curious to learn how to deepen their art of noticing?
I believe we are all able to notice the smallest things, but with the fast paced lifestyles it is just hard to maintain the sharpness and depth of our sensors. For my own well being it is crucial to reserve time for daydreaming and wandering in natural, emotional and digital landscapes. This is the time when our subconsciousness joins together unexpected ideas to new concepts to experience. The paradox is that while being slow, we can go really deep and wide.
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Aistė is a digital artist and experimental architect based in Lithuania. Her work focuses on the decorative arts of architectonics, where she celebrates and employs the forms, shapes and textures found in the intricate and complex nature of things. Goal of her practice is to stimulate the arts of noticing and visualise the unimagined reality. Aistė is a creator of Plantasia Lab, where she designs digital plants using the intuitive imagination of technology. Currently she is a PhD in practice candidate at the Vilnius Academy of Arts working on the project titled the Grammar of Lichen.
Forest Tectonics, 2020
Photo credits: Forest Tectonics, Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, animation, 2020