Some centuries ago landscape painters taught us to appreciate the quality of an untouched landscape. Ever since we have been doing everything to recreate it. We camouflage cell phone antenna mast to look like trees, we fly thousands of miles to experience a pristine landscape — and, as of this month, we can visit a native European forest inside an Austrian football stadium.

The installation, titled For Forest: The Unending Attraction of Nature, houses 299 native Central European tree species and has turned into a lush forest of birches, willows, maples and oaks and many other varieties. With the ephemeral forest, the stadium hopes to attract wildlife (including humans, although humans are not allowed to walk around inside the forest) during the seven weeks the installation is open.

The project is designed by Swiss curator Klaus Littmann as a commemorative to the environment: “[It] aims to challenge our perception of nature and question its future,” it reads on the official press release. “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".

It’s certainly an unusual sight, but as you enjoy the following images why not ask yourself: Is a forest in a football stadium the best way to speak about climate change?

Photography: Gerard Maurer and UNIMO.

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  • It is like a landscape painting, but in 3D and with a huge frame.

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  • An interesting project, all the more because humans are not allowed in the forest. This means that it can only be appreciated from a distance. I don’t quite see how that changes our perception of nature, because it is not fundamentally different from how we appreciate wilderness: in awe, untouched. In other words: nature is an object, something to appreciate, to love, to detest even. In any way it is a domain set apart from the human domain, rather than something integrated with it. What it is not in this setting: something to engage with, something that challenges to find new conceptions of nature. This installation is more of an anthem to nature lost than an invitation to explore new relations with nature. Thinking of it: a well-designed city park does a better job on that.

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  • At any rate we need billions more trees to be planted to tackle the climate crisis so a great initiate to get people thinking and maybe even planting trees in other places! ???

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  • Beautiful images yet I find the empty chairs somewhat chilling as if nobody is really watching or paying any attention to the trees... seems like a bird watchers paradise though ?

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  • Imagine a meteor hits our planet today and everything will be buried in Pompeii style ashes. Then future archeologists who dig up this tree-stadium a thousand years from now, may conclude it was a temple of a society that worships the biosphere. They would be wrong, of course. Still I like this work because it portrays a fictional society that is better than ours. It makes us more considerate about our choices. In my view, these 299 trees are well spend and I hope they enjoy their time in the spotlight.

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  • I wonder how the trees feel about it...

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