Artist Draws Awareness To Deforestation By Planting A Forest Inside A Stadium

An artist in Austria is bringing attention to the worldwide problem of deforestation by planting a forest inside a stadium to reflect the dystopian future our planet is heading for if we do not stop clear-cutting trees.

Deforestation is worse now than ever before, especially as the Amazon rainforest burns in Brazil and loggers prepare to gut the Tongass National Forest in Alaska.

Pretty soon, forests will be something most people will only be able to see and experience in patches spared from the saw, and those will pale in comparison to the natural forests that once dominated the landscape and served as homes for millions of species around the globe.

That brings us to a 1970 pencil drawing by Austrian artist and architect Max Peintner, which features a stadium of people observing a forest on exhibit.

Max Peinter’s “Unending Attraction of Nature”. Image via FOR FOREST.

The drawing is especially relevant today as forests are dwindling around the globe, reducing them to mere specks of green on the map that are accessible to fewer and fewer people.

Inspired by the drawing, Swiss artist Klaus Littman sought to bring it to life as a warning of a future that could become reality if we don’t act to prevent it.

Together with landscape architect Enzo Enea, Littman brought his vision to life by planting a forest inside a large stadium using multiple species that make up a proper European forest so that it would be on display for anyone to visit free of charge so they can experience what it might be like when people want to visit a forest years from now.

According to a FOR FOREST press release:

The Unending Attraction of Nature, a temporary art intervention by Klaus Littmann and Austria’s largest public art installation to date. Bringing together art, nature and architecture in an unprecedented way, this monumental art intervention sees the transformation of Wörthersee football Stadium in Klagenfurt into a native central European forest, with almost 300 trees, some weighing up to six tons each, carefully installed on the existing pitch.

Rallying in support of today’s most pressing issues on climate change and deforestation, 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.

Of course, the forest is only temporarily on display through October 27th, giving people plenty of time to visit the exhibit and see the Fall colors. All of the trees will be transplanted at a park so people can enjoy them for years to come.

However, while people should visit the exhibit, they should also take more time to visit natural forests and do something to make sure they are protected from being clear cut for corporate development. We need trees to produce oxygen we need to breathe and remove carbon dioxide from the air. They also serve as vital habitat for birds and many other species ecosystems need for balance.

One day, we may only be able to see forests in exhibits like the one Littman has created, but it’s a reminder that we can still do something to prevent this future from happening if we take action and demand an end to deforestation right now.

Featured Image: FOR FOREST/Gerhard Maurer

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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