Becky Lyon is an artist and researcher, who examines how humans are impacting evolution through her work. Her practice combines scientific research, thinking-through-making, fiction and participatory research to imagine a spectrum of new hybrid species, materialities, systems and ways of relating.
Past projects include: exploring future environments through scent; contemplating the entanglement of our matter through sculpture and sound, and modelling lively forms at *Fieldnotes from a Technobiocology*. She also runs Elastic Nature, an interdisciplinary art research club exploring the future of nature.
During the residency, Becky was interested in unpacking the following questions: how do living things relate,
cooperate, balance? What has prompted their evolutionary traits? Where are the borders (if any) between the inanimate and animate and how does that change how we relate to the non-human? How might technology (aka humans as a transformational force) impact the development of these species and systems?
Making - Survivors of the Sixth Extinction Feeling - Becoming Jungle
Asking - The Tree of (What is) life?
For Wildbiyoo, Becky presented three research transmissions from three weeks hosted in the jungle.
Survivors of the Sixth Extinction is a cluster of discrete sculptures from a ‘future’ environment where hybrid florals-fungi have made allegiance to combat ecological threat. They are inspired by the epiphytes abundant in the jungle - a non-parasitical, hardy type of species that draw their nutrients from their host, the air, rainwater instead of soil.
Becoming Jungle is a short text / moving image piece assembled from the artists notebook reflections. Throughout the day, Becky will be inviting people to share their thoughts on how we classify the alive and inanimate in short vox-pop-ups.
Becky: "This January I was one of 15 lucky participants to be hosted by the jungle of Canacona, Goa for a 20 day artist residency exploring themes of ecology and climate change. I used time in the dense understory to listen, learn and be with the jungle - an ultra-rich, layered ecosystem full of the unexpected (metallic leaves!), the challenging (snakes and many biting insects!) and astonishing symbiosis between species (figs!).
I was drawn to the epiphytes, an extraordinary type of species abundant in the jungle that grow directly and non-parasitically onto other species. They draw their nutrients from the air, rain, water and debris around it and not the soil. As I learned more about the environmental threats in the region from nutrient depletion in the soil to record high temperatures I started to think about how these hardy species, through their novel partnerships stand a strong chance of survival. I was struck by Chris D. Thomas’ concept of the Sixth Mass Genesis (in which every extinction also prompts a flourishing of biodiversity) to imagine the type of epiphytes that might emerge in the future. I learned that the Strangler Fig makes the host plant most and cool (and have intact already survived the fifth extinction); fungi decomposes chemicals that have leached into the ground, orchids generate energy from their host. I created a series of imaginary hybrids grown from trees that represent clusters of kinship between flora and fungi in a denatured environment.
The sculptures were crafted from the native clay, painted in black herbal dye and enhanced with natural metallic pigment powder that speaks to both a preciousness and an inherent magic in the organisms."