Marco Barotti – MOSS

Pristina, Kosovo – June 2023

Strasbourg, Musée de l’Œuvre-Notre-Dame – currently on view

Within the framework of VITAL, European cooperation project

Since 30th of June 2023, Marco Barotti’s work MOSS is on display in the medieval garden of the Musée de l’Œuvre-Notre-Dame, in the heart of Strasbourg.

MOSS is a poetic and innovative work that raises awareness of man’s impact on the environment.

It is a living sculpture in the form of a kinetic and sound table invaded by plant moss. The installation is powered by air quality data generated by the World Air Quality Index. It has been specifically designed to analyse the air in our cities and reinterpret the data using breathing patterns and evolving soundscapes: from Strasbourg to Mumbai, via Moscow and Beijing. The public can experience the quality of the world’s air in real time, symbolised metaphorically by the alternative breathing of foam.

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, air pollution decreased in many parts of the world. We have witnessed an unprecedented period in terms of reductions in industrial emissions and carbon footprints. It was at this time that the artist began thinking about a kinetic installation to raise awareness of environmental issues, which would later become part of the VITAL project.

Following scientific research into the history of plant mosses and their role in biodiversity and the global climate, Marco Barotti wanted to offer the public a work that would highlight the major role played by mosses throughout the world. He tells us that mosses belong to the oldest group of land plants in evolutionary terms, the bryophytes. They have gone from being used in traditional medicine to being put to a multitude of uses today, the bottom line being that we all enjoy their presence. In the course of his study, the artist became interested in bryophytes’ ability to analyse and monitor air quality in our environment. We now know that mosses filter both air and water, so Marco Barotti wanted to pass on this information to as many people as possible through his MOSS installation.

If we simply let them grow, they could restore biodiversity and help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby tackling huge environmental problems such as climate change.

The project contributes to global research and encourages citizens to take part in the debate on air quality and earth democracy. In this way, MOSS aims to create civic engagement by learning from the wisdom of nature and technological tools.