Because pollution, development, and other anthropogenic phenomena affect our communal homeostasis, we propose to install a public artwork which provides a visualization of harmful pollutants in a productive way.
Our project is based in two locations positioned around the Staten Island Greenbelt: The New York Farm Colony and Seaview Hospital. Both these historic structures were considered role model centers for public health and social service in their height of use, yet today stand as dilapidated metaphors for urban abandonment and disillusion. The ruins are filled with scrap metal, paint, and decomposing consumer products that pose potential health threats to the community and encircling nature preserve. Our project would create an assay-style mural crafted with lichen that is sensitive to pollutants from construction machinery, industrial processes, metals, paints, etc. According to the pollutant detected, the lichen exhibits specific colors of red, green, yellow, or blue, and would stand as a large-scale public art piece on applied science and environmental art. Our mural would be inspired by medieval tapestries and include imagery of local flora and fauna to cultivate awareness of the regional ecosystem, which is one of the most biologically diverse in New York City.