Felix Lenz - Restitution of a Glacier

Felix Lenz

Restitution of a Glacier

What if we had to pay back the damage inflicted on nature by the inconsiderate and self-centred activities of humans? »Restitution of a Glacier« inverts our assumed perspective of humans as the centre of our ecosystem, making us rethink our interdependence with non-human entities on the planet.

filed asinstallation, research
project byFelix Lenz, Sophie Falkeis, Ula Reutina, Carmen Farr
initiated atDesign Investigations (ID2), University of Applied Arts Vienna
exhibitionsLondon Design Biennale 2018,
Beijing Art and Technology Biennale 2022
photographyFelix Lenz, Lukas Preisinger
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This installation was part of the Austrian pavilion »After Abundance« at the London Design Biennale 2018.

The research phase of this project spanned environmental and legal studies. In particular, we focused on granting protection to Nature by treating it as a legal entity. The narrative then emerged from this legal research:
In a post-abundant Austria, natural entities have gained the status of a legal person. According to the »Declaration of Rights for Natural Entities«—a speculative legal framework, issued by a future Austrian government—endangered entities are entitled to certain rights, including the right to bring proceedings in front of court. The case exhibited tells the story of a melting glacier, which—represented by its guardian—claims restitution through civil forces in the form of physical rebuilding. This Sisyphean task is expected to last for several generations, as an attempt to re-establish the injured entity’s dignity.
Visitors to the installation will experience an atmospheric soundscape featuring cracking sounds of a glacier occasionally disrupted by the noise of a siren. Reacting to this alarm, life-sized figures fulfilling their compensatory civil service – spraying water to replenish the melting glacier – are projected onto the translucent face of a monumental ice-like structure.


The installation’s projection faces are made of a custom engineered, translucent compound material with structural qualities.

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We designed custom »glacial uniforms«, recorded our actors in a (DIY-) greenscreen studio and edited the footage in post to add mist coming out of the spraying devices. The composed scenes were then back-projected on the translucent faces.

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