One of our favorite green public artists, Edina Tokodi, is at it once again with her shape-shifting moss graffiti and urban guerrilla tactics. Tokodi was recently commissioned by SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) to encourage Philadelphia’s commuters to ‘Go Green’ with her navigable moss icons and green walls in the Market East Station’s passenger service area, ticketing area, and on the exterior of the station building and Transportation Museum. The initiative is part of SEPTA’s mission to help commuters become more aware of the positive environmental impact of using mass transit regularly.
In a recent interview with Edina, the artist described that the ‘Go Green’ project took approximately one month of materials preparation. The installation’s opening coincided with the Philadelphia Flower Show, a popular time for increased traffic to and from the city. The artist and her collaborator, Jozsef Valyi-Toth, used “100% natural sheet moss”, turf-like plant matter grown explicitly for decoration and design purposes. Given that this material is already well-preserved, the exhibit’s pieces will remain green for at least a month and a half. (Additional watering apparently makes the work brighter green and puffy in texture.) It is a goal of the artist to soon employ bio-matter that requires dedicated watering, nurturing, and ongoing cultivation.
The actual installation of the moss icons and signage took one week of working non-stop, around the clock. This included creating custom-fitted moss inserts for 32 SEPTA posters (10 inches by 10 inches) and 40 pieces that fit into the SEPTA logos throughout the site. Edina and Jozsef also made two ‘Go Green’ signs with each letter measuring 2 feet by 3 feet. Red Tettemer, the very hip advertising agency, also lent a hand in the communication design details for the project (check out the very cute video of the project’s installation process on their website).
The ‘Go Green’ project seems to already have won over the hearts and minds of day-to-day commuters at East Market Station. According to SEPTA, the feedback thus far has been extremely positive with Tokodi’s moss icons being one of the most creative projects they have helped sponsor in a very long time. It might be a while before we are able to grow vertical gardens and vegetable walls ala Patrick Blanc in ‘the underground’ or along the train tracks so to speak, but eco-minded public works are here to stay, and there may soon come a time when being on the ‘go-green-go’ may be one of the most-energy efficient and civic minded activities that we can collectively participate in.