We as human beings occupy more than the 50% of landmass. This omnipresence caused great imbalances to ecosystems because of the biodiversity loss. Deforestation, climate changes, pollution and hunting are the major responsible for the imbalance of the natural distribution of animal and plant species. Nature feels threathened from us and reacts to our presence, sometimes even abandoning a whole area.

Two Austrian designers studied and analyzed the different reactions of animal and plants to the approaching of Man and, in 2014, they realized Ephemera, a project for Perrier-Jouet, the famous champagne producer. They are Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler and sign themselves as “mischer’traxler”, rigorously with a lowercase initial letter. The main installation of Ephemerais a big oak table where, in colored metal, are represented some plants and insects species. It’s a kind of animated nature that vibrates and waves like the green on the slope of the hill that is moved by a light breeze, but when someone passes or gets closer, it retreats. It’s the nature’s reaction of fear, of concern of our presence, this fleetingness that we have always been fascinated by. Let’s think about what happens when we, even slightly, touch a snail or when we try to approach to a wild animal, each of them, in their own way, runs away.

The mischer’traxler’s research on insects, for whom they have a great interest in relation to the fundamental role that these creatures have in the ecosystem, goes on with Curiosity cloud, presented for the first time at the V&A Museum, during the London Design Festival in 2015. The installation includes 264 blown glass light bulbs, hung in a room. Every glass globe contains an handcrafted insect. From a distance, the insects are calm, but while visitors enter the dark room and approach to the installation, the light bulbs, feeling their presence, light up and come to life. They begin to swirl and fly into the pots, touching the glass and creating a strong sound vibration. The insects shown represent 25 different species, coming from all over the world, divided into three categories: extinct or highly threatened, very common and recently discovered.

Mischer’traxler don’t force to a single vision of their works, they suggest a reflection about the themes that they consider significants, the choice to deepen or to limit to a superficial observation is made by the public, even if it is impossible not to reflect on the strong connection between Man and Nature when it’s decontextualized and made more evident. A connection that too often takes to a violent Man supremacy, but that sometimes can turn into a beautiful life and soul exchange, as in the Flying gardens project, that mischer’traxler have realized for a Viennese nursing home between 2012 and 2015. The two designers decided to take the ground floor elements, where was located a garden on a inner courtyard, previously planned with ferns and a little pond, to the residents unable to join it because of the forced immobility. With a constant movement, 20 water sieves and 20 ferns pots slowly pass through the common rooms windows. The sieves fill themselves up in the pond and during their ascent path they drop water in little droplets creating a shapes and sounds game together with the ferns that get up and down alternating to their movement.

For those who want to know more, this is the link to the mischer’traxler website.