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Superflux unveils ‘Invocation for Hope’ exhibition in Vienna

A design studio called Superflux has created an eye-opening art exhibition which both highlights humanity’s damage to the planet, and envisions a future where we live harmoniously with nature.

On display at the Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna sits Invocation of Hope, a poignant exhibition highlighting the marked impact humanity has had on the planet, and the need to change the belief that we’re ‘masters of nature.’

As part of Vienna’s ‘Biennale for Change 2021’ display – which centres around the theme Planet Love: Climate Care in the Digital Age – the Museum has dedicated an entire room to Superflux’s awe-inspiring exhibition.

Envisioning a hopeful future where humans fully embrace living with nature, an oasis of 27 living plants rests in the heart of 415 scorched pine trees. As we said, it’s a big installation.

The Anglo-Indian studio, Superflux, worked in cahoots with local forestry and fire departments in Austria’s Neunkirchen region to salvage local trees burned in wildfires. Using horses to drag these dead pines from forestland, they were later treated for display and transported to the museum.

For the green centrepiece, Superflux planted shrubs, mosses, grass, and lichen which densely cover both sides of a public walkway. Amongst the foliage, which will continue to grow thanks to regular treatments, grow lamps, and an overhead skylight, is a circular reflective pool.

The base of this pool houses a two-way mirror, which will project videos captured using underwater cameras placed in drinking water troughs at the Alphenzoo Innsbruck wildlife reserve.

Those who peer in will see lynx and bison looking back at them in high definition – probably not in the same trough, mind.

Like the eco-conscious message it aims to portray, Superflux has designed the installation to be completely sustainable. Once the event reaches its conclusion, all living trees will be donated to surrounding schools, and the burnt ones will be turned into compost to be spread over public gardens.

Though art is all about interpretation, the superseding theme is clear here. The living oasis at the centre of this dead forest is a symbol of hope to encourage wider thought about ways in which humanity can live harmoniously with the natural world.

Credit: Dezeen & Superflux

Human causes are responsible for 90% of wildfires. Our acts of carelessness, deforestation, or poorly planned reforestation efforts are encapsulated by the rows of scorched trees, and represent the stage humanity is at today in our fight against climate change.

‘Our proposal for a way out of this dilemma is to completely change the way we view ourselves and our relationship with nature,’ said Superflux co-founder Anab Jain.

‘By radically changing our attitude toward natural systems and the ecology of our planet, we have the best chance to reverse the damage we’ve done. How might we – humans and non-humans – truly engage in collaborative living?’

When visitors start to fill the museum later this month, walk through the blackened trees, and stare in the reflection of the circular pool, hopefully many will begin questioning their own role in combatting climate change.


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