SphagnumLAB in Venice– Ensayo#6



March 15-May 1, 2022


Nico Arze and Christy Gast set up the conditions for the 60-square-meter Sphagnum carpet to thrive within the “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol” installation in the Chilean Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. The Sphagnum, which was harvested in Germany thanks to the experimental Sphagnum grower Torfwerk Moorkultur Ramsloh, arrived at the shipping terminal on March 16th, and was transported across the Venitian lagoon the following day. Once it was unloaded at the Arsenale, the crates were organized behind the Chilean pavilion and the team cleaned agricultural grasses out of each section of living turf. This process took place during the two weeks when the pond was being constructed, and during this time Arze began to build the filtering and pumping system in the pavilion’s backstage area. When the pond was ready, the team carried the crates inside and Gast wove the material–a layer of brown peat and growing moss and other plant matter–back together into an unbroken, undulating green carpet. The team ensured that the pond held sufficient water, and Arze perfected the filter and pump so that more filtered water could be added daily. The experimental protocols developed in collaboration with scientists from the Greifswald Mire Centre were put into place, and Arze and Gast trained pavilion staff as to how to care for the moss and collect data. They supported the larger team on many other aspects of the pavilion’s build-out.


Installation of SphagnumLAB portion of the “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol” project in the Chilean Pavilion of the 59th Venice Biennale, curated by Ensayos founder Camila Marambio, created by the artists Ariel Bustamante, Carla Macchiavello, Dominga Sotomayor, and Alfredo Thiermann, produced by Juan Pablo Vergara and organized by the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage of Chile and the Division for Cultures, Arts, Heritage and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile.


Nico Arze and Christy Gast.


Blood, sweat, pickles and tears (of joy).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.