300 trees have been planted in a football stadium in Austria as a ‘memorial’ to the declining state of the environment, which encourage locals to visit and enjoy a traditional European forest in the heart of the city.
Swiss art curator Klaus Littmann has planted 300 trees in a football stadium in Austria as a "memorial" to the environment in the Anthropocene Era.
For Forest is a replica of a European forest that has been transported to Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, where visitors can enjoy the spectacle of the leaves changing and falling during autumn.
The installation is Swiss art curator Klaus Littmann's realisation of a dystopian vision of artist Max Peintner, who imagined a world where trees would only exist like species of animals in a zoo.
"For Forest is very timely as it coincides with growing global discussions and activism linked to deforestation and climate change," Littmann explained. "Peintner drew The Unending Attraction of Nature in 1971. At the time, there was only little discussion about climate change and deforestation. I discovered the drawing in the 80s at an art exhibition. It took me nearly 30 years to realise this project but never has the timing of one of my projects been so spot on."
Trees are one of the defining symbols of the Anthropocene Era; the period where human activity is the biggest impact on the environment. Deforestation – whether to clear land for agriculture or industry or as the result of out of control wildfires such as those currently burning in the Amazon – is a key factor in the emergence of the Anthropocene Era.
A single Sitka spruce tree on Cambell Island in the Southern Ocean is regarded by scientists as the marker of the Anthropocene’s start. Dubbed the world's loneliest tree, the tree's rings record the radiocarbon of above-ground atomic bomb tests. The peak in 1965 is seen as the official start of the era of human impact dominating the environment.
At For Forest, Littmann said he wants each visitor's experience of the stadium of trees to be personal. The trees are open to be interpreted as an artistic sculpture, or a philosophical symbol of life. "With the discussions going on now, people can also see it as a memorial meant to bring people together to think about their environment and protect it."
Photo by Unimo
Putting trees in an unorthodox situation is intended as a challenge viewers perception. "People will not see trees or forests in the same way again," Littmann added. Planting 300 mature trees in a short window of time was a big undertaking. "The most challenging part of the project was its complexity. The timing for setting up the temporary art intervention was crucial. We only had three weeks to set everything up."
No animals or insect life will be added to the installation, but Littman said that he hopes "animals will find their way into the forest" during the time the artwork is in place.
After the installation closes, the trees will be replanted on a plot of the same size close to the stadium where they can develop. A wooden pavilion will be built alongside them to act as an education hub for future visitors and students.
"This way, the stadium forest will remain in memory as a forest sculpture," said Littman.
Via Dezeen | Photography by Gerhard Maurer unless otherwise stated