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#12 we are all extremophiles

Author: david habets
Design: Rudy Guedj and Ben Schwartz

Printing: Riso 3 colours
Edition: 150
64 pages
210×297 mm
ISBN: 9789082771282

we are all extremophiles is a 200-year endeavor — tracing the lifespan of a common orange lichen. I was first drawn to the lichen growing on the megaliths of the bretagne coast, as a young boy on summer holidays with my family. Upon my return, I discovered lichen on an apple tree in my mother’s garden. My grandfather told me that with the establishment of nearby coal mines, these lichens had all but disappeared. In their absence, we noticed the pollution in the atmosphere. Years later, a peculiar blue-stained lichen growing on the monolithic delta flume drew me back into their mute poetics.

we are all extremophiles is by now an archive of over ten thousand photographs of lichen native to amsterdam, maastricht, the alps, and chernobyl, amassed over the last several years. It is intended as a non-destructive archive — one that doesn’t destroy what it stores, as a collection of appearances not of bodies. We can read lichen as an atmospheric archaeology, as natural drawings of our ways of living.

This book shares the transcript of we are all extremophiles I (performed at the jan van eyck academy in 2021), photographs of the spatial performance nitrophiles (which slowly decomposed over three months on the atrium windows of the academy), further enriched with research notes and generous reflective insights by laurens sparrius and cameron hu. we are all extremophiles will continue to question our capacity to perceive the changes, perils, intentions and unintended consequences written into lichen lifeforms, for 200 years to come.

david habets