Moss graffiti and mindfulness – a chat with landscape architect Roland Dunzendorfer
The most mesmerizing and fascinating things often are the ones you'd least expect, managing to link otherwise separated fields and create new ideas and perspectives in the process. Like moss and graffiti.
Yes, you read that right. Brought together by Viennese landscape architect and artist Roland Dunzendorfer the plant and the art form recently collided in the shape of our beloved glasses, which Roland put up all around Vienna’s Neubau neighborhood, creating striking yet sustainable graffiti in a never before seen way.
Being a nature lover and sustainability advocate for quite some time now, Roland made it his mission to educate all of us about the different ways we can start living a more conscious lifestyle. He frequently writes about his progress on raising awareness for the alarming state of our planet on his website and also is one of the founders of Colearning Wien, a school and coworking space offering alternative workshops and classes for children and teenagers.
With his constant strive to make the world a more sustainable and innovative place, we thought it be best to let Roland himself tell us all about his moss graffiti guerrilla project and how we can achieve making the world a greener, artsier place.
How did you come up with the idea to fuse moss and graffiti?
I really like graffiti, at least when they are aesthetically pleasing. But I never agreed with the chemicals in the colors used and how graffiti destroys the building underneath. One day while I was walking along Donaukanal in Vienna I noticed a new kind of graffito that was much more in line with my principles: made out of moss. I then researched instructions for doing a moss-graffito, quickly also came up with my own instruction, and was even approached by an agency to develop a moss-graffito – and that’s how everything evolved.
What’s unique about working with moss? How did you manage to get it into the shape of glasses?
Moss has a very special surface and feel, it’s soft yet strikingly robust and one of a kind when it comes to plants. With the shape, there aren’t really any boundaries as long as you stay within a certain height and width.
Your motto is “think globally, act locally”. What does this mean to you?
I have travelled quite a bit of the world and worked abroad a lot. While in other countries I was always confronted with the same problems and companies, some of them even linking back to Austria. So I decided that if I want to change something it probably is best to start right at the origin. Focusing on your local area is especially rewarding as you immediately see the changes. Still, you should never loose sight of the bigger picture and what needs to happen globally.
How does one manage to achieve that change – more sustainability and greenery in their immediate environment? Especially in cities?
There are countless possibilities. The most common actions probably are to separate your trash, to use your bike instead of the car, and to put or plant greenery onto your windowsill or in your front garden. But that’s just the start: I, for example, am not producing any more kitchen slops, as I put them into an Bokashi and then trash them on a compost pile. I also helped set up a food cooperative where you can source groceries directly from the producers in your region. Apart from that I try not to travel by plane and only buy high quality, fairly produced clothes that don’t get out of season after a few months.
Which tips do you generally have for living a more sustainable, aware life?
I think we should listen to our gut feeling way more. If you go to the supermarket and buy groceries that have been packaged three times and probably still be good to eat two weeks after their said expiration date, you’re most certainly going to have a weird feeling about that. It’s all about thinking logically and realizing that something just can’t be right with the way we consume. If you buy a t‑shirt for just five Euros that a stressed woman is hectically throwing into a bag at the cash out you’re probably going to have a quite similar feeling to the one in the supermarket. All of us are noticing that feeling but we’re so used to it that we think there probably isn’t any other way. And that is wrong.
What is the most important thing about sustainability?
Simply that it’s wonderful. We have a great planet providing everything we need, with a constant supply. Just look at the blossoms during spring time. The only thing we need to do to maintain that cycle is to not destroy our planet. Sounds quite easy, doesn’t it?
What do you hope for the work you do in the future?
I think the time of action has finally come. The pioneers of the movement have done amazing work, and still do. Now it’s up to all of us to make use of that. 20 years ago my ideas were called crazy. Today, a lot of those have already found their way into the mainstream. Gardening though living in a city for example. The current time is a lot of fun, actually, because I don’t have to secretly follow my ideas anymore. But of course I’m already working on new ones.