For a few years now, the MoMA PS1’s Young Architects Program has been using art installations to help raise awareness about pressing environmental issues. This year, they are showcasing COSMO, a giant sculpture that also purifies water. It was designed by NYC and Madrid-based Spanish architect Andrés Jaque and aims to raise awareness about growing water shortage and the need for healthy water systems.
COSMO is basically a “moveable artifact” and is made out of normal agricultural irrigation components, which are widely available. The sculpture is able to filter 3,000 gallons of water in four days. The filtration process works by eliminating particles and nitrates, balancing the pH and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen. To signal the end of the filtration cycle, a plastic mesh at the center of the sculpture lights up, which creates a great backdrop to the various outdoor events taking place in the courtyard of the gallery.
The sculpture’s creator maintains that architecture also has a political role, and that his installation is meant to show how urban water ecosystems of pipes and waterways work. He also wanted to emphasize the prediction made by the UN, which states that two-thirds of the world won’t have sufficient access to water by 2025.
The sculpture also relies on less energy-intensive methods of water purification, doing so by using plants to treat the water. The plants are also fed by the water they are purifying. This installation is mobile, and can be easily reproduced anywhere in the world, meaning that it can be used to offer clean water to people who otherwise do not have access to it.
As a work of art, COSMO does a great job of offering an innovative and aesthetically pleasing solution to a growing environmental problem. COSMO will be on display until September 7, 2015.