Jackie Brookner, Prima Lingua (First Tongue)

Jackie Brookner, Prima Lingua (First Tongue), 1996 and 2001,concrete, volcanic rock, moss, plants, agricultural runoff, 64 inches x 101 inches x 80 inches

Brookner grew mosses on a giant volcanic rock and concrete tongue to create Prima Lingua, a biochemical filter that cleanses polluted water and air. The polluted water in its trough, which circulates over the biosculpture's back, was collected from agricultural runoff. The moss, together with the fungi and many millions of bacteria growing with each plant, use the pollutants as food sources, thus gradually purifying the water. A 500 cubic foot per minute ventilation system takes one week to come in contact with an ordinary room's 70,000 cubic feet of air. By contrast, this biosculpture would absorb the vast majority of dust and pollutants from this same amount of air in a day. Snails, salamanders and other animals in the pool enhance the functioning of the whole system. The image on the right shows five years of growth.

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