About the Installation
Site Location: Mt. Ashland
Title: a late hybrid
This installation consists of three elements. The first is a full body suit encrusted with Wolf Lichen gathered from highway shoulders in the deserts of Central Oregon. The second is a video recording of the artist performing in the lichen suit. The third is a human silhouette constructed from juniper branches, the lichen’s original host. These three companion objects create an origin story for a creature that is neither human nor plant, a creature that blurs the border between the animate and inanimate.
Harvesting note: The lichen for this project was harvested over the course of three months. As much lichen as possible was picked up from the ground rather than plucked from trees. When harvested from trees it was taken only in very small amounts from areas where it was quite plentiful, and the harvest was spread over wide areas of space.
About the Artist
Anja DuBois is a visual artist based in Central Oregon who specializes in video art and video installation. Her research interests include posthumanism, object-oriented ontology, and human-plant relationships. She uses performance and sculpture in combination with moving image to explore the intimacy between humans and their surroundings.
Connect with the Artist
How do we establish intimate connections with our surroundings? My projects are always born of a desire for intimacy between myself and my surroundings, and yet the closer I look the more alien everything becomes. My solution has been to lean into this strangeness and dissolve myself as much as possible into the landscape. In this instance, the first step towards dissolution was to become lichen, a not-quite-plant with which I have very little in common (it’s much more resilient). I think of this less like camouflage and more like a quick hop out of my body and into another way of thinking and being. The result is something wholly hybrid, not human, plant, or animal– it is a creature with a new and unfamiliar perspective.
By examining my surroundings on a very intimate level, and allowing them to transform me emotionally and physically, I question my own desire to collect, categorize, control, quantify, and understand the world around me. As I walk through hallways of glass cases of animals and minerals and cosmic artifacts in natural history museums, I see the excitement, love and curiosity of the people who put them there as clearly as I see their ignorance, violence, and desire for ownership. The glass between specimen and human is a division that symbolizes the separation between humans and other forms of life, a division I am constantly seeking to erase.