Last weekend, Mike and I spoke with Derek Woods, a theoretical lichenologist. We discussed how the academic field of biology is not currently designed to answer the basic biological question “what is lichen?” and how theoretical lichenology approaches the question. Our conversation gave me a lot of material to draw from in forming my final project.

To elucidate the various possible ways to perceive lichen (as laid out in Trevor Goward’s [Derek’s mentor/collaborator] “Re-emergence” essay), I want to replace the lichen’s photobiont with humans and imagine the “humungi,” a symbiosis of humans and fungi. Lichens exhibit properties that neither the fungi nor the algae/cyanobacteria exhibit on their own, such as an extended lifespan and the ability to thrive in unfavorable environments. What might humans be capable of if we fully submit to fungal symbiosis?

Elements and Components:

  • Lichen: Fungus and algae/cyanobacteria
  • Human fungal pathogens
  • Biological systems
  • Philosophy
  • Fine Art

Interactions and Actions:

  • Infection
  • Amplification
  • Symbiosis


  • Drawing
  • Sculpture, 3D printing