SphagnumLAB in Venice

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WHEN

March 15-May 1, 2022

WHAT

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.

WHY

Installation of SphagnumLAB portion of the “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol” project in the Chilean Pavilion of the 59th Venice Biennale.

WHO

Nico Arze and Christy Gast.

HOW

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

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