Convention 2087 Wrap

The T. Rudzinskaitė Memorial Amateur Lichenologists Society held its Annual Convention 25-27 January this year at Linnaeus University in snowy Växjö, Sweden. Society co-convenors Tessa Zettel and Dr. Sumugan Sivanesan delivered the official Opening Address on Day One, with Dr. Sivanesan beaming in via spectra-link from the Convention’s Satellite program in the former west.

Highlights of the 2087 Convention: ‘Speculative Flummery and Cosmic Co-becomings’ included a keynote from the President of the Therolinguistics Association about the group’s recent trek to Pike’s Peak to decipher lichen lyrics on its rockface, a report from participants in our Forever Together vocational study program at Nefertiti Health and Beauty Salons (right here in Växjö), and a hands-on dia-sporing workshop run by some of our inter-pagan members.

A fortuitous overlap in university scheduling meant our attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy the tail end of another conference, ‘Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practice‘, and a seventy-hour-long more-than-non-human dance marathon to celebrate the 70th anniversary of leading international research group Dance for Plants.

Speculative flummery was specially prepared each day by final year students from the University’s School of Post-lithoculinary Arts. A full report on convention proceedings will be published in book form later this year.

 

 

The Society’s Annual Convention 2087: Speculative Flummery and Cosmic Co-becomings

We’re looking forward to catching up with our members at the upcoming 69th Annual Society Convention gathering around the theme of ‘Speculative Flummery and Cosmic Co-becomings’,  January 27-29, 2087*

This year we’re delighted to be hosted by Linnaeus University, in Växjö, Sweden. The University is renown for the groundbreaking research that’s been conducted for many decades at its Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies, in partnership with the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology. This is a great opportunity to bring the lichen love to our Scandinavian neighbours, and hopefully catch a glimpse of the extremely rare Bitter wart lichen (Pertusaria amara) that we’ve all heard so much about lately.

The full program is now online. Registrations have officially closed, but please get in touch if you’d like to attend.

* Note: conference dates overlap with another symposium organised by our colleagues at Linnaeus University, ‘Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practice’ (Jan 25-27). Special two-for-one registration packages are available.

2086 Field trip & picnic – what a day!

Meeting point at Nida carpark

After many weeks traipsing through the dunes, forest and beach of the Curonian Spit, collecting spruce shoots, nettles, raspberry leaves and mosquito bites, talking to local biologists and foragers, concocting jellies and pancakes and fermented sodas, we finally hosted this year’s annual field trip & picnic on 22 June 2086!

Thanks to everyone who came along – amateur lichenologists, artists, interpagans and everything in between. For those of you unfortunate enough to have missed out on this special bumper edition (back on Lithuanian soil for the first time in decades!), here’s a taste of what the Society got up to.

Follow the fish!

Toasting the locally extinct arctic raspberry, and the miraculously alive-and-well wild strawberry, with wild strawberry kvass (fermented soda).

UFO landing site: space lichen, astrobiology and Cold War luxuries.

Blinis with un-caviar. Each amateur lichenologist dollops a spoonful of un-caviar onto a neighbour’s blini while saying ‘kosmičeskije sso-sstanivlenija‘ (‘in cosmic co-becomings’).

Flummery! Made with agar and blueberries from the old forest. With a side of Permian mass extinction and microplastic futures.

The Great Tuning Fork

A full report from the Society will be published in the forthcoming Nida Art Colony Log: On Rites and Terrabytes, due for release later this year.

Big cheers to Sepideh Ardalani for helping with food wizardry, Diana Pusko for foraging advice, the interpagan intentional community for their extraordinary un-caviar, and Nida Art Colony for letting us crash their symposium! See you somewhere else next year!

Have you seen this fish?

This year the Amateur Lichenologists Society was invited to have a presence in Vilnius, with the opportunity to show some work alongside Žilvinas Landzbergas in the Vilnius Academy of Arts Glass Pavilion, as part of the exhibition Teleport to Nida.

That’s our life-size baltic sturgeon on the glass (long ago extinct in the wild), the exact length of the last one caught in the Baltic Sea. Here also is the text that went along with the display:

“Did you know that the iconic Baltic Sturgeon is considered a ‘living fossil’ that was for a short time extinct here in Lithuania? The Sturgeon’s ancestors survived ‘the Great Dying’ (the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event) some 200 million years ago, in which 96% of marine life disappeared. In 1996 the last wild specimen of this prehistoric fish to be found in the Baltic Sea was hauled out at a remote island in Estonia, 2.9 metres long and weighing 136 kg. In 2057, after decades of a committed reintroduction program, healthy adults born in captivity and released into the Neman River were once again observed at the Curonian Spit, leaping from the water in what some believe is a kind of communion with their oddly kindred space lichen.”

 

wild strawberry kvass

More experimenting with kvass, a fermented soda popular in Russia that can be made with any number of things.

Our second attempt uses wild strawberries – Fragaria vesca, ‘fraisier des bois’ – collected around the beach at Nida. Evidence from archaeological excavations suggests that Fragaria vesca has been consumed by humans since the Stone Age http://intarch.ac.uk/journal/issue1/tomlinson/part2.html#S711

Recipe from Sandor Katz here

Seems you basically just cover the berries in sugar water, 1:1.5 ratio, and wait.
Let’s see..!

We would have like to have tried this with the arctic raspberry or arctic bramble, the ‘superior berry’ (rubus arcticus) of the sub-arctic region, but that’s now extinct in Lithuania. In other places it’s also on the decline – in Finland the decrease in forest fires have adversely affected it (it likes the nutrients from forest ash and post-fire gets a better run than competitors); while in Estonia and Scandinavia, agricultural and forestry developments which drain soil have had an impact, since it likes wet soil and in dry conditions is overgrown and replaced by other species.


 [image from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Rubus_arcticus.jpg/440px-Rubus_arcticus.jpg ]

https://www.balticforestry.mi.lt/bf/PDF_Articles/2011-17[2]/Vool_2011%2017(2)_170_178.pdf

flummery

flummery is both a fluffy 17th-19th century dessert pudding, and a load of nonsense.

‘It’s not the age of reason … it’s the era of flummery, and the day of the devious approach’ –Trouble with Lichen (1960)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flummery

some incredible specimens here
http://www.historicfood.com/Jellies.htm

& a little on isinglas (swim bladders of sturgeon) which were a common ingredient in flummery
https://food-hacks.wonderhowto.com/news/weird-ingredient-wednesday-isinglass-or-why-your-guinness-has-fish-it-0161766/

Yellow Flummery

a pretty basic recipe here, using berries https://permaculture.com.au/davidson-plum-rainforest-flavours-in-the-kitchen/

https://1tess.wordpress.com/2008/08/13/blueberry-gems/ 
https://books.google.lt/books?id=uCRdqi4lvK8C&pg=PA53&lpg=PA53&dq=blueberry+flummery&source=bl&ots=edOyqufQi6&sig=PMLJOx7XcWqKqtV8xYPuiGvQRNQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiMx5Cfz9jbAhXBDywKHQ1lCmwQ6AEIazAO#v=onepage&q=blueberry%20flummery&f=false

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/2i8iz3ay/blueberry-flummery.html