The Seaweed Appreciation Society International (SASi) is a community-based algae research group dreamt up by Lichen Kelp with deputy Danni Zuvela. It operates as a mobile classroom with an emphasis on group learning and practical experimentation, and aims to connect artists with marine biologists, kelp farmers, other experts and appreciators in the investigation of marine habitat restoration methodologies and everyday uses of seaweed.
Pictured; a well camouflaged cuttlefish in seaweed appreciation mode.
Image by Justin Gilligan.
The first SASi meet up was held at Florence Peel Hall in Fitzroy on May 6 2019 and was cohosted by Lichen Kelp (Forum of Sensory Motion) and Danni Zuvela (Liquid Architecture) as part of LA’s Why Listen to Animals series.
We drank seaweed beer, ate rice bowls with Kombu floss and seven other varieties of seaweeds, discussed future plans for SASi and read from Richard Mabey’s piece on Samphire (technically a sea vegetable) from the Caberet of Plants as well as the intro to this incredible piece;
The ocean’s iron lungs.
Part of the Spectacular Herbs series.
Kelp depreciation was touched on and will be looked at more closely in a future session, including potential ways of reversing this devastating marine habitat loss.
The disappearance of 95% of the Kelp Forests in the Southern Ocean.;
Kelp nearing extinction in Tasmania
What we can do about it;
smashing sea urchins
and Kelp Farming! Lots of Kelp Farming investigations coming up!!
SASi will invite elders of the Palawa people of Tasmania to hold a workshop in kelp basket making.
Pictured an example of a Palawa water carrier from the early 1900’s in the National Museum Collection
The Seaweed Appreciation Society respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of Australia, its lands and its waters and consults traditional owners in the regions in which our activities take place. SASi recognises that Indigenous Australia existed in a balance with the oceans before colonisation and supports Indigenous governance of unceded lands and waters.
SASi aims to challenge and reposition prevailing anthropocentric conceptions of the ocean as a playground and a profit-making "resource" to be mined, towards a wider recognition of it as a complex intertwined marine habitat. SASI's ultimate goal is for our activities to assist current efforts in addressing the devastation of white settlement, industrialisation, climate change and over-fishing through education, collaboration and appreciation of the ocean's treasures.
Tasmanian Indigenous Kelp Art
Hauntology on Country - Jess Cockerill
We will also look at traditional applications of algaes in various countries including Norway, Ireland, Greenland and Inuit communities.
Image: Inuit Woman Gathering Kelp
Inuit Perceptions of Marine Organisms
Greenland Kelp Harvesting
Terrior by Jonas Edvard
The project contains a new material developed from seaweed and paper and is created as a research into local materials. By combining seaweed and recycled paper waste Jonas Edvard and Nikolaj Steenfatt has created a tough and durable material. It is best described as a warm and tactile surface with the softness of cork and the lightness of paper which can be used for products and furniture. The colour of the material is determined by the different species of seaweed – ranging from dark brown to light green. The seaweed is harvested along the beach of Denmark, which stretches over 8000 km and is one of the worlds longest coastlines compared to the land mass area. After being dried the seaweed is ground into powder and cooked into glue, utilizing the viscous and adhesive effect of the Alginate – the natural polymer of the brown algae.
Algae in design….
further group research into algaes as a plastics replacement
For SASi’s presentation at the Jaffle Symposium, Testing Grounds on July 27 2019, we will propose 10 things to do with Seaweed.
Sitting at number 7; make a roof out of kelp.
Currently, homes like this one only exist on Læsø, an island in Denmark:
Various photographic experiments will be carried out in future SASi workshops including cyanotypes inspired by Anna Atkins, a biologist from the late 1800’s who is considered to be the first female photographer.
After losing her mother very early in life, Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was raised by her loving father. He gave her a scientific education, which was highly unusual for women and girls in the early 19th century. Fascinated with the plant life around her, Anna became a botanist. She recorded all her findings in detailed illustrations and engravings, until the invention of cyanotype photography in 1842. Anna used this new technology in order to catalogue plant specimens-a true marriage of science and art. In 1843, Anna published the book Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions with handwritten text and cyanotype photographs. It is considered the first book of photographs ever published.
Full Digital collection of Atkins cyanotypes
The not-so-British Seaweed Appreciation Society international will stage an aquatic Ausexit at this session in recognition of the algal republic.
We will explore how politics has affected seaweed and marine environments around the world. We will design a flag for our one ocean and drink cups of seaweed tea with our middle fingers raised.
image: title page of Anna Atkins book of Cyanotypes British Algae Vol.1 with inspirational font!
SASi will be creating our own one off algal beauty products. The beauty industry can be a bit suss but making our own seaweed remedies is going to be fun- slimy pampering with kelp facemasks, footbaths and dried clumps of seaweed to use as bath bombs at home. We will watch some vids wearing our face masks and snacking on nori popcorn, then do a light hearted beauty product review
Image sourced from here;
We’ll take our bath bombs home where we wont have a stormy sea view across Ireland but we also wont have to share the water with our sisters while dads (plural!) hog the first bath!
Reasons to go to Ireland (or stay home and make your own seaweed bath) from the Guardian here:
Matt Bates from Matters Journal will present a session on kelp farming as well as present illustrations and excerpts from a kids book on seaweeds he is working on
I Get By with a little Kelp from My Friends
Seaweed identification trip to Point Lonsdale
Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia H.B.S. Womersley
foraging guide by illustrator and designer and forager Chris Rockley
Seaweed Appreciation Society
Commercial Kelp Harvesting Norway
The ultimate goal of SASi to return to the ocean as often as possible and to honour the humble entities that are marine algaes as a vital and endangered marine habitat as well as a traditional and future resource for food, design and well being.
In order to achieve this we will stage excursions to the shores of countries world wide, elevate the awareness of kelp forests through group research and workshops and investigate the viability of a floating artist residency that doubles a s a kelp farm lab.
Image from Eyes as Big as Plates an exhibition by Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth.
language matters. changing the terms around the climate crisis: