The body of work presented in Symbiotic Structures is the result of Eriksmoen engaging in an ongoing dialogue with Dr. Anne Pringle in an attempt to understand the complexities and mysteries of lichens and their unique symbiotic associations of fungi and algae. Using abandoned and broken wood furniture scavenged from streets and basements in Madison, Eriksmoen deconstructed and reconfigured timber parts following the prompt, “what would lichens do?”
Pioneers (2020). Salvaged furniture, bamboo string, found hardware.
Lichens are considered pioneers because they can attach to bare rock and are the first settlers on fresh stone. They begin to erode the rock into a proto-soil, and then other species are eventually able to grow where lichens have been.
Beginning from a jumble of disjointed furniture components, Eriksmoen considered the initial action of lichens as they become established on a substrate, or in this case, a chair seat. The slatted chair back component had failed structurally, but rather than repairing it as a furniture restorer would using joinery and glue, Eriksmoen allows the part to remain nonviable. However, an outside agent, the orange string, provides structural support to it. Other types of growth also colonise the seat, their territorial boundaries meeting up in what mycologists call ‘zones of antagonism”.