Competition for the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna

On 3 March 2023, artist Edgar Honetschläger won the competition for a permanent art installation at the Türkenschanze Campus of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences.

The judges explained their decision as follows:
“WALK OF INSECTS comprises 13 granite slabs set into the forecourt of Wilhelm Exner House. Each slab is engraved with the image of an insect species and a text. Collectively, these form something of an artistic ‘insect manifesto’ made up of 13 demands compiled by the artist in collaboration with an entomologist. Another integral component of the project is a plot of rural land that is to be purchased with the aim of transforming it into a ‘non-human zone’. Go Bugs Go, an association that Edgar Honetschläger established together with biologists, economists, ecologists, farmers, lawyers, art historians and public notaries, is committed to conserving habitats for insects.
With his project WALK OF INSECTS, Edgar Honetschläger calls attention to the drastic human-induced decimation of insects and places the question of society’s relationship with nature at the centre of an artistic manifesto and a collaborative action. He combines artistic research with eco-activism and hones in on the principles applied by BOKU, a university of life sciences that sets itself apart by virtue of its holistic approach in research and education. His imagery and text in combination with a non-human zone make a strong statement and together constitute a progressive approach that aligns with the tenets of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, which seeks solutions for societal issues and a sustainable future.”

Winning project: WALK OF INSECTS

For his WALK OF INSECTS, Edgar Honetschläger teamed up with an entomologist to develop a so-called “insect manifesto” consisting of 13 demands for the protection of those creatures. These 13 demands take the form of 13 granite slabs, which also feature illustrations of various insect species, installed on the forecourt of Wilhelm Exner House. When realising this intervention on site, great emphasis was also placed on climate neutrality and minimal use of resources, as well as on integrating the work into surfaces that were previously sealed. The second integral part component of the project is a plot of land in a rural area that was purchased with the aim of tranforming it into a “non-human zone” for the purpose of protecting nature. A plaque in the forecourt of Wilhelm Exner House points to this other component of the project.

Crater X

Since 2006 Faivovich & Goldberg have dedicated themselves to Campo del Cielo, a region in northern Argentina that experienced a meteorite impact about 4,000 years ago. Crater 10, a crater at Campo del Cielo that has been extensively studied since the 1960s, serves as the jumping-off point for the proposed land art project: a 1:2 reconstruction of the crater in BOKU’s experimental garden. The artists depict the crater’s topographical strata in the form of sitting steps, while a beam of light in an acrylic glass tube illustrates the meteorite’s trajectory. Crater X not only serves to visually and spatially represent the scientific research carried out into the meteorite impact at Campo del Cielo; its main purpose is, in fact, to be a space where BOKU students can meet and discuss ideas and lectures can be held.


Susi Rogenhofer proposes an installation that provides insight into the wide-ranging fields of research and topics at BOKU and serves as a low-threshold interactive communication tool that can reach people outside the university; things that are concealed or microscopic in size can be enlarged and made visible and generally accessible in the outdoor space. The proposed project consists of several different oculars, installed on a slightly elevated grassy area on campus, that give the impression they are providing views under the ground. In reality, they contain monitors playing videos, photos, animations and images that are largely selected by the artist herself, but also in cooperation with the university in adherence with artistic and aesthetic criteria.

162 steps

Heidi Schatzl chose the stairwell of Ilse Wallentin House as the location for her intervention 162 steps. She makes use of the ceiling surfaces and some of the walls along the entire height of said stairwell from the ground to the top floor. The piece aims to gradually open up new perspectives and reflect on the history of BOKU by incorporating historical images while telling a story that is relevant to the future. To this end, Heidi Schatzl searched the archives for pertinent (but largely unknown) images, which she then used to create a collage in the style of a kaleidoscope. The brightly coloured images are printed onto aluminium panels to be mounted on the ceilings and walls. The motifs are structured in four narrative strands that explore the themes of commons, socio-political dystopias, nature, and death and life/survival.

from dirt grows the flowers

Reflections on BOKU’s approach to the topic of landscape served as the jumping-off point for Basil Schu’s proposed project. His installation consists of three objects spread out across the campus. Initially, these objects look like simple columns made of rammed clay. But over time, the clay erodes, and the columns become smaller, revealing the bronze and ceramic objects embedded inside. These sculptures, in turn, (re-)shape the disintegrating clay and may be overgrown with plants over time. This process cannot be controlled, with the end result being a combination of the artist’s pre-made objects and the residual clay. This project is informed by aspects of research and determinacy, as well as autonomy and unpredictability.

Die Kette / The Link

Martin Walde proposes an artistic intervention for the atrium of Franz Schwackhöfer House: a chain that is suspended from the ceiling and reaches almost down to the ground floor. In contrast to conventional chains, this one is not made from equal links but is built in a completely different way. Depending on the position of the person viewing the chain, the links either become larger or smaller by a few percent. This means that, along its entire length of 14 metres, the chain seems to either disappear or expand; it gives the impression of being infinite. While the top link is over half a metre long, the bottom link is barely visible to the naked eye. The chain’s materiality also changes, from various types of wood at the top and aluminium, to silver at the bottom.