Last Spring, the Vienna-based Austrian artist group Steinbrener/Dempf & Huber installed the cliffhanger — a faux tourist information booth attached to the sheer rock face next to the scenic Mirafallen in Ötschhergräben Austria. The installation was designed to underscore the impact of mass tourism on the fragile natural environment. Needlesstosay, the project caused the expected uproar from vistitors and commentators alike.
Many were surprised to discover that the installation was actually commissioned by Florian Schublach, head of the Oetscher-Tormaeuer nature park. “the installation was not intended to be a popular attraction,”Schublach told zenger news. “it was intended to be the opposite of a popular attraction. it was not set up to make a lot of people want to go there; more like the other way around. Often debasing entire cities and regions into scenery for visitors, turning local residents into mere extras in their own environment, even mass tourism has been hit by coronavirus,” said steinbrener/dempf & huber. “the drastic action taken to maximize profits in natural resorts, sometimes at the expense of the local population and nature, would seem to have at least been interrupted. is this installation perhaps symbolic of this state of affairs? is tourism now beyond many people’s reach?”
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