Austria – Klaus Littmann has brought together art, nature and architecture by transforming Klagenfurt’s Wörthersee football stadium into a native central European forest. Titled FOR FOREST – The Unending Attraction of Nature, the temporary art intervention rallies in support of today’s most pressing issues on climate change and deforestation. The project is free and open to the public everyday from 10 am to 10pm until October 27.
Despite being a success with thousands visitors on a daily base, not everyone welcomed For Forest. The Austrian far right, nationalist parties attacked the project in a move to draw more attention in view of the upcoming general elections while climate-change deniers even marched to the stadium armed with waved chain saws.
- RELATED STORIES: discover more architecture and design projects tackling Climate Change on Archipanic…
THE PROJECT – “FOR FOREST aims to challenge our perception of nature and question its future. It seeks to become a memorial, reminding us that nature, which we so often take for granted, may someday only be found in specially designated spaces, as is already the case with animals in zoos.” Says Littman to Archipanic.
Almost 300 trees including silver birch, aspen, white willow, field maple and common oak, some weighing up to six tons each have been carefully installed on the existing pitch. Seating up to 30,000 spectators, the installation creates a “captivating panorama, paving the way for a whole new perspective and understanding of forests,” explains Littman.
“This forest as it stands here emits 37 tons of oxygen per year. You have to imagine what that means,” says Enzo Enea, founder of Enea Landscape Architecture which overseen the project. The intervention is inspired by The Unending Attraction of Nature, a dystopian drawing by Austrian artist and architect Max Peintner which features a bunch of wild trees, almost caged by urbanisation.
THE POLITICAL WARFARE – Aside the Climate Change emergency, Austria is under a political climate as well. Far right parties Freedom Party and Alliance for the Future of Austria have been attacking FOR FOREST. The Carinthia region has been a stronghold for right parties but in the past years their popularity has slumped. Ultra-conservative and anti-immigration politicians accused the privately funded project of wasting taxpayers’ money as well as using foreign trees and leaving a devastating ecological footprint.
Some people confronted Littman – who grew up and lives in Switzerland – telling him to go back to his country, and even turned up at the stadium armed with waved chain saws in what it said was a ‘satirical protest’. “People are using For Forest for political warfare,” says the artist to Deutsche Welle.
HOWEVER… Despite that, so far, FOR FOREST has been a success with 3.000 to 7.000 visitors per day. After being transplanted, the forest has being taking on a life of its own, changing colours as the season turns and attracting wildlife.
After the free art intervention at the stadium ends on October 27, the whole forest will be replanted on a public site near the stadium and will remain as a living ‘forest sculpture’.
All images by UNIMO and Gerhard Maurer – Courtesy of © FOR FOREST.
- RELATED STORIES: discover more garden and landscape architecture on Archipanic…