The Wacky Water-Purifying Art Installation at MoMA PS1

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COSMO is a moveable party “artifact” that cleans up to 3,000 gallons over a four-day cycle. And the oddball installation is lighting up the summer-long music series at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City.

MoMA PS1‘s Young Architects Program shines a spotlight on emerging firms doing experimental work, by letting them actually build one of their innovative – and environmentally sustainable – concepts at the Long Island City gallery’s outdoor courtyard. Last year, David Benjamin and The Living erected Hy-Fi, a cylindrical tower made of organic blocks; two years ago, CODA built Party Wall, out of waste wood from skateboard production; and the year before that, HWKN unleashed Wendy, a spiky smog-busting sculpture of an installation.

This year, it gets even more conceptual with Andrés Jacques / Office for Political Innovation‘s COSMO, a machine-like contraption on wheels that uses plants and customized irrigation components “to filter and purify 3,000 gallons of water, eliminating suspended particles and nitrates, balancing the PH, and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen,” according to MoMA PS1’s press release. The stretched plastic at its centre glows when water has been purified – providing pulsating light for the gallery’s Warm Up series of outdoor concerts running through September.

The firm, a Madrid-New York practice best known for its eye-popping House in Never Never Land in Ibiza, sees COSMO as a DIY device that can be built wherever needed – especially in places where clean water is scarce. “COSMO is designed as both an offline and an online prototype. Its purpose is to trigger awareness, and to be easily reproduced all around the world, giving people access to drinking water, and to a dialogue about it.”

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