BIG ART - Mark Dion at UBB


With "Vivarium St. Marx" US-American artist Marc Dion has created a life sized, living sculpture for the new University Biology Building in St. Marx, Vienna. Our unit was able to contribute to this amazing art installation.

In the foyer of the new Biologiezentrum in St. Marx a glasshouse containing a large cut down poplar tree catches the eye. The tree displayed had been dug out two years previously to make room for the new building.

Artist Mark Dion, in association with BIG ART (the art initiative of Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft), created this stunning "Vivarium St. Marx".  Returning the tree to the location of its former habitat as a living sculpture aims to connect science indoors with the living world outdoors, as well as call attention to urban development and interference with nature. The tree has died, but it provides both a habitat and sustenance for insects and microorganisms. 


Our Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics Unit was involved in a small part in this project by providing images of Nitrososphaera viennensis, an ammonia oxidising archaeon that was extracted from soil on the roof of our old location at UZA I. Along with other images of biological context, a scetch based on those images was printed on tiles that form the base of the "Vivarium St. Marx".


Original paper introducing Nitrososphaera viennensis: 

PNAS, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013488108

Nitrososphaera viennensis, an ammonia oxidizing archaeon from soil

Maria Tourna, Michaela Stieglmeier, Anja Spang, Martin Könneke, Arno Schintlmeister, Tim Urich, Marion Engel, Michael Schloter, Michael Wagner, Andreas Richter, and Christa Schleper


For the full University of Vienna press release please click here.

BIG CEO Hans-Peter Weiss, artist Mark Dion, Uni-Wien-Rektor Heinz Engl (© Anna Rauchenberger)

Illustration of Nitrososphaera viennensis © Vinzenz Schueller

Biofilm image, Nitrososphaera viennensis

Nitrososphaera viennensis