AS QUIETLY AS MOSS GROWS
Artist selected as part of the open call
22844 Rue Saint-Gilles
“She had noticed that in recent days the spiderwebs had been growing larger and denser, seeming to completely take over the abandoned shops and offices. She heard a noise, a crunch of a leaf behind her, and quickly darted around, startled. As she did so her torch briefly flashed into a nearby window, illuminating the thin, silky lines of a spiderweb. She turned back, shining the light carefully across the lines from left to right, as if reading a book. And within the path of light she deciphered the words ‘as quietly as moss grows’ spelled out with spidery precision.”
‘As quietly as moss grows’ casts a fictional moment from a story into the material world. This installation is one component of a multiform research project about tardigrades who live on the moon. The project centres around a fairytale, ‘In the beginning…’, written in response to a curious 2019 incident when a spacecraft crashed-landed on the moon. On this spacecraft was a microscopic archive of human history, alongside a colony of tardigrades: hardy, tiny creatures known to survive space. Within the fairytale reimagining, these tardigrades are joined on the moon by their favourite habitat – mosses. The spacecraft crash releases the moon’s biggest secret: a spring of lunar water. In this magical, moist land the mosses and tardigrades quickly and quietly spread across the moon until moonlight is lost on Earth, and one giant, moon-sized tardigrade materialises as a second moon.
In the chaos that ensues on an Earth without moonlight, humans realise they are resident on a planet where they are no longer in charge. They begin to take notice of the small and unnoticeable. They learn to read messages in spiderwebs blanketing the capitalist ruins of a past world.