Tamiko Thiel
Waldwandel / Forest Flux
Augmented reality art, Tamiko Thiel and /p, 2023                                DEUTSCH

Waldwandel/Forest Flux premiered 03 Feb. - 27 Aug. 2023 in "Flowers Forever," Kunsthalle Munich

Until June 2024 view the AR on your own phone:
at the Natural History Museum Bavaria/Biotopia Lab Munich
- Download and install the ARpoise app.
- ALLOW access to CAMERA and LOCATION!

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Waldwandel/Forest Flux in "Flowers Forever," Kunsthalle München.

Developed in collaboration with the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise,* Waldwandel / Forest Flux provides an immersive encounter with how climate change is affecting the Bavarian forests. In the Kunsthalle Munich, the installation is viewable as an AR livestream on a monitor, through dedicated iPads that visitors can take in their hands, and through the free ARpoise app that visitors can download onto their own smartphones.

For the Norway Spruce (Fichte, Picea abies), long a staple of the Bavarian forest economy, abundant conical blossoms (actually "strobili," a sort of proto-flower) and the resultant clouds of wind-borne pollen are probably a form of survival instinct, as the trees attempt to survive the dryer, hotter environment we have created.

Waldwandel/Forest Flux AR livestream in monitor, showing spruce pollen phase.

Foresters are now fostering other native tree species that will form the Bavarian "climate forest" of the future (Klimawald). These include well known species like oak (Eiche), beech (Buche) and fir (the Tannenbaum of the famous Christmas song).

One of the lesser known native trees, featured in this artwork, is the "Chequers Tree" or "Wild Service Tree" (Elsbeere, Sorbus torminalis). Its valuable hardwood was used for things like musical instruments, billiard cue sticks, measuring instruments and for decorative inlay. In Britain it is long associated with "Chequers Inns" that served an alcoholic drink made from its fruits, in fact the name "service tree" derives from the Latin "cervisia" (Spanish "cerveza" = beer=). The chequers tree is predicted to thrive under the coming climate conditions; its abundant flowers will attract and feed pollenators, and its fruits provide sustenance for many other forest denizens.

Waldwandel/Forest Flux: wild service tree (chequers tree) with rose chafer beetles.

The artwork also focuses on a less known pollenator of the chequers blossoms: the brilliant green rose chafer beetle (Rosenkaefer, Cetonia aurata). Besides pollinating they break down compost and decaying wood. The fad for keeping honey bees is endangering wild bees, especially in the USA where they are not native. There are also many other types of pollinating insects (beetles, flies, butterflies, moths, wasps, etc.) that often service ecological niches that bees cannot, and that play additional important roles in the health of natural ecosystems.

Waldwandel/Forest Flux. Walkthrough of the AR installation in the exhibit "Flowers Forever," Kunsthalle Munich.
Waldwandel / Forest Flux was commissioned by the Kunsthalle Munich for the exhibit "Flowers Forever" (curated by Franziska Stöhr), Museum of Natural History Bavaria/Biotopia Lab, and the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise.

Sponsored by generous grants from the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise, and from Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program with support from Unity Charitable Fund/Tides Foundation.

Thanks to Skylla and Lametta for the 3D plant modeling, and to spec.studio for the 3D insect modeling and animation!
* The Bavarian State Forest Enterprise, with some 2400 staff members, manages the approximately 805,000 hectares of the Bavarian State Forest. Our overriding principle is sustainability, in which we only harvest as much wood as we plant. We are converting the Bavarian State Forest from the spruce monoculture of the past into a sustainable, climate change tolerant, species-rich mixed forest - we are designing the Klimawald, the climate change resilient forest of the future. In this way, we are also creating and securing habitats for many species, thus increasing biodiversity. Our forests also store drinking water, produce clean air, protect against avalanches and are an invaluable place for people to relax and rejuvenate both mind and body.