Invocation for Hope | Superflux

Release Time: July 2, 2021


Copyright Notice: The content of this link is released by the copyright owner Superflux. designverse owns the copyright of editing. Please do not reproduce the content of this link without authorization. Welcome to share this link.

For the Vienna Biennale, Superflux is planning an immersive installation addressing crisis with hope. © Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

This spring, speculative design studio Superflux invited humanity to reassess its place in the natural world, emerging from the grid-like ashes of fire-blackened trees into resurgent greenery – and a glistening pool with a surprise below the surface. Invocation for Hope was commissioned by the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) for the Vienna Biennale for Change 2021 in response to the event’s theme ‘Planet Love: Climate Care in the Digital Age.’

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

Invocation for Hope is a vast, immersive installation that examines the complex interconnected relationships throughout the natural world, and which raises the possibility of a more-than-human future–a post-anthropocentric planet in which humanity is just one part of a dynamic and multifaceted ecosystem.

After traveling through a grid-like forest of burnt and blackened pines – the unexpectedly graceful skeletons of a former time – you find, at its heart, a resurgent living forest, where multiple species living in harmony with humanity offer a promise of alternative life. In this cradle of biodiversity, you come to a freshwater pool, which reflects, not your own face, but another creature – a wolf, a lynx, a bison – coming to the water to drink.

Early render view of the forest installation An Invocation for Hope.

Accompanied by a soundscape created by visionary musician Cosmo Sheldrake, the installation leads viewers one by one on a personal journey from the ravages of climate crisis to the possibility of renewal and a deeper connection with nature.

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

The indoor forest

The creation of Invocation for Hope has required the sourcing and installation of more than 400 trees to the MAK. In collaboration with the forestry and fire departments of Austria’s Neunkirchen region, Superflux were able to salvage and transport trees that had been burned in a recent wildfire.

Detail of burnt trees from Austria's Neunkirchen region.


The trees are arranged in a symmetric grid so, as the viewer passes through them to the living oasis at the centre of the installation, they move from an imposed, rigid order to the organic exuberance of nature. The pool at the centre is surrounded by a cluster of 20–30 different living trees, including oak, hornbeam, apple, silver birch, and mounds of biodiversity where mosses, grasses, lichens and shrubs will grow symbiotically together over the course of the installation. These living ecologies nourished by regular watering, grow lamps and natural light from the large skylight on the museum ceiling.

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

To achieve the moment of revelation at the heart of the work – when the viewer looking into the pool is confronted with the sight of a living animal reflected back at them – Superflux has collaborated with Alpenzoo Innsbruck. By installing underwater camera rigs in the water troughs of the zoo’s native Austrian wildlife, they have been able to capture footage of various animals as they drink. These are then projected onto a screen beneath a two-way mirror at the bottom of the pool, enabling the viewer to experience an unexpected and evocative moment of connection with their ‘opposite number’ in the animal kingdom.

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux

The afterlife

Once the Biennale ends in October, Superflux plans to donate the living trees to schools, and to use the burnt trees as compost, which will then be used to nurture a garden of contemplation in Vienna, thus helping to enrich the biodiversity of the urban landscape – a lasting reminder of the web of interdependence that underpins all life on earth.

© Photo courtesy MAK, by Stefan Lux


# 艺术装置 # immersive installation

About author


Case recommendationMore(0)

No Data