• Lichen clock

Alderson-Bythell, Louis, 2023, Art or design object, Lichen clock

Abstract or Description:

Lichen Clock is a sculpture commissioned for the commune of Martigny, Switzerland. The sculpture celebrates Lichen as a bio-chronological clock, to be stewarded over many generations, where it’s growth would be perceptible over different lifetimes. Here, time is understood not through solar time, but biological and environmental time. It acts as a bio marker for environmental conditions to give us tacit insight into air and water quality and hopefully encouraging us to reflect on how to be more socially and ecologically aware. This proposal encourages us to see ourselves as symbiotic with the Lichen, where our collective actions can serve to create a better environment not only for it but also the whole community.

The study of Lichen has a deep history in this area of the alps, particularly Rhizocarpon geographicum or ‘map lichen’ which is abundant on these rocks. It has been used to understand geological dating by many researchers. This work was assisted by Dr Gothamie Weerakoon, curator of the Lichen Collections and Dr Christine Strullu-Derrien, department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum in London, as well as Dr Nicolas Kramar from the Nature Museum in Sion.

The piece alludes to traditional town clocks. The column structure that holds the rocks is based on what some researchers believe to be the ancient ancestor of modern Lichen, called Prototaxites, a type of fungi that existed 450 million years ago, creating a trans-temporal link between the two. This was ‘digitally grown’ through environmental simulation and then created in bronze, using weather data collected over the years from Martigny.

Scientific advisorWeerakoon, Gothamie
Scientific advisorKramar, Nicolas
Scientific advisorStrullu-Derrien, Christine
Subjects: Other > Biological Sciences > C200 Botany > C220 Mycology
Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art > W130 Sculpture
School or Centre: School of Design
Copyright Holders: Louis Patric Alderson-Bythell
Funders: Ville De Martigny
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sculpture; Biology; Public Art; Environmental Art
Date Deposited: 20 May 2024 14:25
Last Modified: 20 May 2024 14:25
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5836
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