The Afterlife of SphagnumLAB – Ensayo #6



November 28, 29, 39 (Venice) and December 8 (Greifswald)


Carla Macchiavello, Nico Arze and Christy Gast of Ensayos packed the 60 square meter Sphagnum carpet from the “Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol” installation in the Chilean Pavilion of the 59th Venice Art Biennale, which was curated by Ensayos founder Camila Marambio, created by the artists Ariel Bustamante, Carla Macchiavello, Dominga Sotomayor and Alfredo Thiermann with numerous collaborations from a talented group of creatives and institutions (WCS-Chile, Hach Saye and Greifsweild Mire Center and Ensayos),  and produced by Juan Pablo Vergara. The pavilion was 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. Vittorio da Mosto and Maria Costan Davara assisted with the de-installation work.

Sphagnum moss from the five test plots was removed and dried, and will be analyzed at Greifswald Mire Center to determine how the moss fared in the pond at the pavilion, and how much carbon was captured during the eight months that the exhibition was on view. The team also photographed all of the varieties of plants growing in the Sphagnum pond for later identification.

Most of the Sphagnum, which was grown and harvested in Germany thanks to the experimental Sphagnum grower Torfwerk Moorkultur Ramsloh, was delivered to Punta Sabbioni (Cavallino Treporti), in the Venice region, by barge. Carla Macchiavello and Christy Gast escorted the delivery, and met Stefano Valleri and Dr. Olga Crosera from Azienda Agricola Valleri, who will use the ethically harvested/produced moss as a horticultural substrate and for vertical gardening experiments. Stefano Valleri toured Macchiavello and Gast through Azienda Agricola Valleri’s facility, and explained that it is a three-generation family business specializing in organic agricultural products such as fresh herbs and vegetables that are sold in regional supermarkets.

Additionally, ten crates of Sphagnum will be used by We are here Venice to support soil regeneration for a public garden in Venice.


Ensayos is one of the collaborating institutions of the Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol project in the Chilean pavilion. Ensayos supports ongoing eco-cultural research and ecological maintenance work related to SphagnumLAB specifically, and peatland conservation in general.


Carla Macchiavello, Nico Arze and Christy Gast.


Jane da Mosto and the team at We are here Venice carried out research and consultation with a broad variety of local businesses to ensure that the afterlife of the pavilion resulted in a productive new life for the moss while supporting GMC in its pursuit of new markets for farmed Sphagnum. Thanks to Torfwerk Moorkultur Ramsloh, the Greifswald Mire Centre and TBA 21’s Ocean Space, as well as Azienda Agricola Valleri.

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