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Terms and Conditions
Introduction
Welcome to TONGUES, provided by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (“we”, “us”, “our”). Access to and use of this website (“TONGUES”) is provided by us on the basis of a number of important terms and conditions, which are set out in full below.
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General
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Privacy & Cookies Policy
Introduction
The tongues.cc website is operated by Voodoo Voodoo Ltd (‘TONGUES’).
This privacy policy applies to TONGUES.
We want you to enjoy our website and services secure in the knowledge that we have implemented fair information practices to protect your privacy. By visiting our website, you are accepting the practices described in our privacy policy, including our use of cookies and similar online tracking technologies. If you do not agree to the terms of this privacy policy, please do not use the website.
TONGUES may change this policy from time to time by updating this page and you should regularly check to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy was last updated on 11 February 2020.
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1. General principle
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3. Types of information we may collect
4. How we use your information
5. How we protect the information we collect
6. Access to your personal information
7. How to contact us
1. General principle
There are two types of information we may collect from you when you use the website: non-personally identifiable information and personally identifiable information. Non-personally identifiable information does not individually identify you, but it may include tracking and usage information about your general location, demographics, use of the website and the internet. Personally identifiable information is information that you voluntarily provide when you set up a user account, subscribe to a newsletter, or query that can individually identify you and may include your name and email address etc.
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As part of providing our website and services to you we use a limited number of third-party services that perform functions on our behalf, including but not limited to website hosting, server monitoring, tracking user behaviour, marketing automation services, and customer service.
We have no control over, and assume no responsibility for, the conduct, practices or privacy policies of these third-party services and encourage you to read the policies of the services we use below:
TONGUES uses the MailerLite marketing automation service to issue newsletters. Find out more about MailerLite’s Privacy Policy and Terms.
When you subscribe to our email newsletters
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We will use the email address you provide to send you a weekly or monthly email. We also send occasional updates and, no more than once a year, reader surveys. 
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Sharing your personal information
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6. Access to your personal information
You may request a copy of the personal information we hold about you by submitting a written request to info@tongues.cc. We may only implement requests with respect to the personal information associated with the particular email address you use to send us the request. We will try and respond to your request as soon as reasonably practical. When you receive the information, if you think any of it is wrong or out of date, you can ask us to change or delete it for you. 
We take all reasonable steps to ensure the information held is accurate, up-to-date, complete, relevant and not misleading. 
7. Contact us
If you have any questions about our privacy policy or our use of your information, please contact us at info@tongues.cc.

Sofia Laçin & Hennessy Christophel

December 22 / 2021

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Sofia Laçin and Hennessy Christophel are the founders of a woman-owned studio that creates nature-inspired art to incite a visceral connection between people and their environments. Their artwork tells stories in nature that are both big picture, like that of the changing seasons, and intimate, like that of the nurturing relationship between the monarch butterfly and the milkweed. Whether they are telling a macro or micro story, they endeavour to inspire a sense of awe for the natural world.

 

Q >How did the “Seeds Spires” concept come about?

HC/SL >Seed Spires came from a desire to make public art that participates directly with our environment. Specifically, our many years of pursuing knowledge about ecology and creating artwork that brings nature into clearer focus for people. For years our work has been about connecting people to the place they live through an understanding of their local nature and we wanted to pursue a tangible expression of this idea. Seed Spires goes after that same goal — connecting people to nature while offering a moment of actual habitat, real change, real nectar, feeding bees rather than just painting them.

And we wanted to make something completely different! We had almost infinite conversations and brainstorming sessions about making work out in nature, sometimes with Tre Borden (of Tre Borden Co.) on the line as well. We came across Basia Irland’s Ice Book series — an ephemeral installation of native seed laden ice blocks carved into books, and released in the river — that idea of using artwork as a way to heal the earth helped coalesce our ideas into a full concept. 

Q >What’s been the most challenging, and conversely, rewarding aspects of creating this project?

SL >   The most challenging part for me has been figuring out the technical and structural aspects of the sculpture, which demand regimented, persistent and incremental experimentation. That kind of detail-oriented fact-finding can create a sense of separation between myself and the work. Too many facts and spreadsheets. But when I make a spire in reality, the connection is reborn.

Also, leaving our first fully public Seed Spire installation felt pretty vulnerable. To put an impermanent sculpture in public very clearly puts our trust in the public to respect it — usually when engineering a public installation, the standard is to assume distrust. You know, graffiti coat it, bolt it, etc… but Seed Spires come from the opposite mentality.

It’s rewarding to work with a living medium, to create something that will continue on. They feel very much like individual beings when they are unveiled from their form. 

The surface texture and quality of the earth tones have been so rewarding for my eyes. I love the combination of organic soil and seed matter made into such crisp, deliberate forms. And those first wildflower blooms — truly magical!

HC >   Most rewarding is the feeling of putting up the first spire — taking your first step down a totally new path that feels like it has boundless possibilities. 

It’s been extremely satisfying and fun to connect with some of the people we most admire in the plant activist, nature-worshiping world.

Q >Vision and ambition: What do you hope the “Seed Spires” will achieve?

SL >   I hope it opens some eyes to how beautiful and necessary native flowers are, and the importance of pollinators. I hope people feel a fraction of what I feel when I look at a native flower that I know is feeding and providing a crucial habitat for a hungry pollinator. I want Seed Spires to be an entry point for an opening up to love for nature and feeling the deep joy, peace and magic it can provide. I see it as helping along our societal transition from anthropocentric to biocentric.

Q >You’ve worked on over 80 installations together. Tell us about your collaborative process.

SL >  Our process is a well-established method that is a direct blend of my frenetic concept-driven, instinctual way of making, and Hen’s more patient, calm methodical story-oriented way of creating. It’s a complete blend of the two throughout the whole process — beginning to end.

Q >Tell us about your most unconventional project, even if it didn’t materialise.

HC >  This one! This is the first project where I’m a little hesitant to talk to my in-laws about it, maybe that’s the unconventional test, haha. I feel the most out of my depth with this project and the most curious about where we are going to go.

Q >How does where you live affect your work?

SL >   This is like asking, how does the food you eat affect your body? A lot and in every way! Living in a city (Los Angeles) that is packed full of ambitious artists creates a special combo of pressure and support — feeling inspired by friends who make incredible work but also the pressure to swim fast enough to keep up with the creative current.

HC >  Take what Sofia said and say the opposite, hahaha. Honestly I live in a place that is very comfortable (San Luis Obispo) and gives me space and time. My creative methods have always needed a lot of space and time. So I do feel like I chose a place that gives me this little cocoon to work away in.

Q >If you could give your 16-year-old self a message what would you tell her?

SL >   Just freely explore and seek out what makes you curious. And stop sunbathing.

HC >  That was my most vulnerable self, no barriers in place yet. Not very embodied yet. I’d just say I love you to her.

Q >What patterns, routines or rituals define or help to shape your life and its rhythms?

SL >   My daily morning “free create” sessions. Ideally from about 8am–10am I loosely explore with paint, pens, chalk, dirt, pencils, on canvas and paper — tap into my subconscious and into my Self. Making art is my most important daily ritual. 

I also must sweat hard every morning, before the free create sessions. It brings my mind and body into the same room.

Towards the end of the day, a long walk, free from information or music, just for looking and being, creates a bridge between work and home energy. Werner Herzog says “the world is revealed to those who walk” and that’s my informal motto. 

HC >   Taking my three-year-old to daycare in the morning and picking her up in the afternoon gives me three specific spans of time each day. My favourite part is going to pick her up — no matter how the day went, it’s like a new start for the rest of the day. She greets me and is so present and we take on the evening anew. I’m making attempts at bringing in other elements to my routine, but I am in a season of life where I am oriented around my three-year-old. She holds the gravity that I am orbiting around.

Q >Who or what inspires you?

HC >  Seed Spires has connected us to people working with native plants that are creating so much beauty and habitat — like the Theodore Payne Foundation and Terremotto. They are hugely inspiring to us both.

Kids’ books. As the mother of a three-year-old I spend a lot of time with picture books and the breadth of joyful, meaningful stories told and illustration styles is so inspiring to me. Oh, and the public library system. It gives me hope that we can get things right sometimes.

SL >   And also for Seed Spires we were inspired by Mierle Laderman Ukeles who explores the concept of maintenance work as art.

At the moment, my main sources of inspiration are:

Conceptually…

Reading leading thinkers that articulate the moment — whether it’s about the gravity of attention in Jenny Odell’s How to do Nothing or Robin Wall Kimmerer’s wisdom in Braiding Sweetgrass. I’m currently reading Everything Now by Rosecrans Baldwin – he paints this incredible pointillistic portrait of Los Angeles and I am in awe. And Krishnamurti’s Think On These Things is a consistent source of inspiration.

Auditorily…

Dorothy Ashby, Bill Evans, NTS Radio exploration in all different directions but right now I love [the DJ] Tim Parker, Rahill (shout out to JLAW for turning me on to this resource), and all of Floating Cloud’s musical gatherings in different nature oases of LA.

Visually…

  • RRRES studio – the work is fresh on my mind as I just visited the designer’s studio in Oaxaca 
  • Piet Oudolf 
  • James Turrell 
  • Julie Mehretu
  • The orange cosmos blooming in my yard right now 
  • The graceful flight patterns of white-throated swifts I see on my walks at the LA river

 

Images courtesy of the artists
© Sofia Laçin and Hennessy Christophel / Tutto Studio

Seed Spires — Living art installations

Seed Spires — The spires are made of compressed earth embedded with locally sourced native plant seeds

Seed Spires — The spires are made of compressed earth embedded with locally sourced native plant seeds

Seed Spires — The spires are made of compressed earth embedded with locally sourced native plant seeds

Seed Spires — At nature’s pace the spires come to life, yielding vegetation to support robust urban ecosystems

Seed Spires — At nature’s pace the spires come to life, yielding vegetation to support robust urban ecosystems

Seed Spires — We need wild, boisterous, native habitats tucked into every roadside, park, backyard and stoop