Christian Gonzenbach

Humus Musculus

Humus Musculus, 2012

Soil, grass, plants, structure

22 x 2 x 7 m

A whale sighting has taken place in the waters of Rhine, an occurrence that has become increasingly frequent since the cetaceans have begun fleeing from polluted seas and rivers in search of clean water. After a long and arduous journey, the exhausted mammal gave out at last upon reaching the city of Basel. During the first week of the sighting there was much excitement among the residents, then soon they became disinterested.  In due time, the whale’s body was dragged through Riehentorstrasse then Riehenstrasse before arriving at a small park behind the Congress Center. The city officials, unsure of what actions to take, held endless meetings with a group in favor of incineration and another for burial. After garnering more than 15,000 “Likes” on Facebook, the rotting corpse was discarded, only to be pecked away by crows but they too found the whale meat too much to deal with. Under the circumstances of a shortage of arable land, the mass of humus became an unexpected windfall for the residents. Timidly at first, then more and more openly, the neighbors began sowing and harvesting plump vegetables. In the span of a few months, the dramatic mound became a garden of abundance where the fertile cetacean soil produced subsistence for the citizens.