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Lost Species Day 2022: Queering Decay – Thinking-with Dead Wood

6 December 2022
6:00 pm
7:30 pm

How could we re-compose decomposition as a site of hot transformation?

How might rot be a detonator of possibility? Join artist Becky Lyon / ELASTIC FICTION for an evening gathering thinking-with dead wood as a guide for co-flourishing in ruinous times and profound loss. We’ll use the processes of decay and decomposition associated with dead wood as conduit for queer/ying inherited concepts of life/death binaries; troubling the concept of “wasted” bodies and leaking out of the “self-made” individual amongst other fragments of wisdom.

For Lost Species Day 2022 we take a moment to honour an overlooked and biodiverse ecology whilst “staying with the trouble” and finding generative stories of renewal. This will be an interactive session with discussion.

To bring (optional):

  • A piece of “rotten” matter e.g. a fragment of dead wood, handful of compost, soil, kombucha, sourdough starter
  • A sterile jar (boiling water or dishwasher will do it!)
  • Cooled boiled water / mineral water
  • Fruit peels and herbs of your choice e.g. orange rind, apple peel, ginger, cinnamon stick, rosemary, mint
  • Honey

This event is part of ONCA’s Lost Species Day 2022 programme, Queer(ing) Ecological Futures, a diverse range of online and in-person talks and workshops that celebrate imaginings of multiple possible futures beyond mainstream notions and investigate what it means to queer death and ‘extinction’. All events are free but donations are warmly welcomed. This year, any donations will go to ONCA, helping us continue our vital work of creatively challenging the driving forces of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

About the Artist

Becky Lyon is an English x Jamaican artist and ‘artecologist’ exploring how art practice can re-body us back into the animate, vibrant, tangly messwork of our ecology. She is interested in ecology as an alternative curriculum or sourcebook for inhabiting the earth in ways that foster more co-flourishing and care and challenge the logic of “dominion” at the sour core of injustices (plural). Her work manifests in multiple forms from tactile installations to rituals, sensory artefacts and word-foolery. She hosts participatory gatherings of and for all kinds from dead wood walking trails to summer-scented gatherings around the fire; touchy-feely seminars and reading groups that rip B|T|W|N THE L|AV|S. She is a ranger for London National Park City supporting grassroots organisations and hoping to re-enchant the perception of urban ecology through creativity. An inherent discipline-smoosher, she has an MA Art & Science from Central Saint Martins and is currently studying MA Art & Ecology at Goldsmiths.

Image: Incantation by Becky Lyon

Image description: Two small pieces of creamy brown wood lie on a grey surface. Scrawled verbs associated with dead wood emerge from the dead wood fragments and encircle them like lace or spider web.

This event has been made possible by support from Sussex Humanities Lab and University of London.

Sussex Humanities Lab is an interdisciplinary research programme at the University of Sussex that experiments with digital methods in research and investigates the interactions between technology and culture, society and environment in order to imagine and create more sustainable and just futures for all.


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