Xanthoria parietina is a nitrogen-loving lichen. Its presence could indicate prevalence of nitrogen-containing pollutants, emitted by transport and industry. In this interactive installation, the hemisphere functions as a magnifying lens. Human interaction enlarges aspects of the light image, just as exposure to anthropogenic emissions cause actual lichen populations to flare up and recede.
Xanthoria is an experimental interpretation of a “lichen-eye view” on air pollution, inspired, in part, by the multispecies research of Sociologist, Jennifer Gabrys. Making a case for a “moss-eye view”, Gabrys articulates the possibility to “extend and challenge the familiar urban natures literature by asking how radically different urban inhabitations might yield new perspectives on urban processes and community—even when those processes and collective exchanges may take place below the radar of the usual spaces of urban–human encounters” (2012, my italics).