Phytofictions and Phytofication

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In ‘Phytofictions and Phytofication’, designer, researcher and educator Julia Lohmann introduces her practice-led research into seaweed as a material for making. In her work, macro-algae are material, method and muse in one. Lohmann makes a case for speculative and co-speculative design approaches to biomaterial development with an empathic mindset towards regenerative practices. She advocates a shift in the role of designers from individual authors to enablers of communities of practice that envision less harmful multi-species relations, set against the backdrop of the climate crisis. The ‘Department of Seaweed’, a community of practice Lohmann founded at the Victoria &Albert Museum London, demonstrates how museums can expand their role as repositories of artefacts into becoming spaces for multisensory material engagements and learning. Lohmann explains how ‘phytofication’ – actively embracing the material agency of macroalgae and treating it as a co-designer – enabled the development of biomaterials and objects that communicate the potential of seaweed to diverse publics. These in turn sparked ‘phytofictions’: conversations on how we might use algae and other biomaterials in the future. Julia Lohmann believes that working with algae, through phytofictions and phytofication, can help us shift our mindset from extraction towards regeneration – if we, as a species, learn from algae.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeing Algae : Transformations in Water, Plants
EditorsYogi Hale Hendlin, Johanna Weggelaar, Natalia Derossi, Sergio Mugnai
Place of PublicationLeiden
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-68331-0
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-68330-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024
MoE publication typeA3 Book section, Chapters in research books

Publication series

NameCritical Plant Studies
ISSN (Print)2213-0659
ISSN (Electronic)2213-0667


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