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☟The Lunar Moss Piglets in the Sea of Serenity☟

Polystyrene moon sculpture laminated in non-toxic resin and sand, mosses, 180 x 180 x 180cm, 2022

The moon, with all her mythological and spiritual symbolism throughout humanity’s history, has crash-landed into society today: the paved grounds of luxury capitalism, a hotel carpark.

The Lunar Moss Piglets in the Sea of Serenity brings a moment from a fictional narrative into the material world; the moon becoming blanketed in moss. Reflecting on a curious incident in 2019 when a spacecraft carrying a colony of moss piglets, or tardigrades, crash-landed on the moon, my publication In the beginning... tells a fairytale reimagining of the event which results in colossal, moon-sized moss piglets and a moon blanketed in a green carpet of mossy forests.

Through the construction of this replica moon I am creating an alternative lunar home for mosses and the tardigrades that live within them, an optimal tardigrade ecosystem as a kind of reparative gesture to amend for their current predicament: possibly alive yet in a liminal state of suspended animation. The moon is a topographical representation, tracing maps produced by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. With the location of the spacecraft crash known - in the moon’s Sea of Serenity - I was able to gently transplant moss onto the corresponding location on my replica moon.

This work was made as part of ‘Ontdek de Nacht’ a program of artworks in public space by four young artists (myself, Alicia Kremser, Naomi Jansen and Sjors Smit), in conjunction with the solo exhibition ‘Nachtvlucht’ by Pieter Laurens Mol at the Stedelijk Museum Breda. Our works responded to the theme of darkness within Mol’s practice. For me, storytelling begins in the darkness of the mind’s eye. It is the site of imagination. It is here that reality is written, memories can be lived, and worlds are formed. It is the ultimate space of potentiality. To know that something exists yet can’t be seen with the naked eye positions it in the world of imagination, as well as the physical world. To know the microscopic community of tardigrades is alive yet out of sight on the moon - both in reality and in my moon replica - can ignite a new world of imagination.

Commissioned by KOP and Stedelijk Museum Breda for ‘Ontdek de Nacht’. Click here for the flyer. The work is now on indefinite loan to Jan Paagman Sterrenwacht in Asten, North Brabant.

I have been invited to present my research underlying this project as part of the ‘Platform for Art Research in Collaboration’ (PARC). You can read my essay for the platform here.

This work is part of a multiform research project about a colony of tardigrades who crash-landed on the moon. Related works are: In the beginning... and As quietly as moss grows.

Above: Microscopic recordings of the tardigrades and moss living on the moon sculpture. Thanks to Gerda Lamers at the Institute of Biology, Leiden University.

Above: Installation shot outside Hotel Ingenhousz.

Above: Images documenting the stages of production.

Above: Development of the moss and other signs of life at the moon on day 45.