In her text “Dearest Zen (Letters to Lichen),” artist and scientist Adriana Knouf presents future love letters written to lichens, symbiotic organisms of fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. Through the lenses of xenology (Knouf’s term for the study, analysis, and development of the strange, alien, and other) and trans* temporalities, Knouf explores ways of learning from, and ecstatically participating in, cross-organismic intimacies and exchanges.
artist, writer, and xenologist
Adriana Knouf works as an artist, writer, and xenologist. She engages with topics such as wet media, space art, satellites, radio transmission, non-human encounters, drone flight, queer and trans futurities, machine learning, the voice, and papermaking. She has a PhD in information science from Cornell University, Ithaca, and an SM in media arts and sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts. She has been selected for a number of prestigious residencies, including an Art4Med residency at Waag, Amsterdam, a Biofriction residency at Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana, and Kersnikova Institute, Ljubljana. Past work has been recognized by awards such as the Award of Distinction at Prix Ars Electronica, 2021. As founding facilitator of the tranxxeno lab, a nomadic artistic research laboratory, Knouf promotes entanglements amongst trans and xeno entities. Additionally, she is the author of How Noise Matters to Finance (2016). Knouf lives and works in Amsterdam.