Schlosspost: In fairytales, there are mysterious elixirs and plant-based balms still being used in medicine today. How real is the story of the healing moss?
TK: It is real in that moss is like a great mediator of the natural world. It purifies water, makes homes for small vertebrae, and can actually be an engine of biodiversity. Soldiers in World War I even used it to heal wounds.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that there is a book that I’ve only found just recently that does a remarkable job summarizing the story of moss and healing. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, by Robin Wall Kimmerer is highly recommended to anyone interested in the power of moss.
Schlosspost: The image of the female body being intricately connected to an ailing landscape reminds of the personification of mother earth or mother nature standing for creation, fertility, unity and so on. Yet the picture you paint in the end doesn’t quite fit.
TK: I guess, yes, the earth in this story is more of a partner than a sort of a matriarchal force. The relationship I’d like to see to come through is that indeed the landscape and moss woman are unified, but partnered. They need to rely on reciprocity to survive.
Schlosspost: You also work as a designer. How do design and art overlap in your practice? How do you combine those fields in your (artistic) work and what inspires your new projects and topics?
TK: I think art and design have a lot of crossover with each of the practices.
The idea of iteration in design has been helpful for my art practice. In design it’s expected that you build the thing, test the thing, learn from the thing, and then build the thing again. But learning to approach art making as such has definitely made a huge impact on my productivity. I tell myself to not think so much, just make it, then make it again differently if you want to.
»Learning to approach art making as such has definitely made a huge impact on my productivity. I tell myself to not think so much, just make it, then make it again differently if you want to.«
As a digital designer, its also pretty important to keep users’ needs and motivations at the center of your design solutions. This also seeps into my art. People are usually at the conceptual center of my project work.
Schlosspost: How can art help us to refigure the female future? And what does it actually look like?
TK: I think art is the best way to figure out any future! And the future I can see through the lens of regenerative moss healing – including smaller carbon footprints – a.k.a. bodies that need less oxygen, a greater kinship with other life forms – especially photosynthetic ones, and sufficient access to the resources one needs to thrive.
Interview by Clara Herrmann