Apr 23rd - June 12th, 2021



Sophia Niederkofler, Collage, 2021, Institut für Gestaltung.studio2, Universität Innsbruck

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

COHABITATION, Kunstraum Innsbruck 2021, exhibition view, photo: Daniel Jarosch

Patrick Bonato, Gina Disobey, Ina Hsu, Roland Maurmair, Nicole Weniger and young

architecture researchers from the Institute for Design studio 2 (Daniela Albrecht, Bernd Baumgartner & Daniel Alber, Florian Heinrich & Gabriel Kopriva, Sophia Niederkofler, Franzisca Rainalter, Louisa Sommer, Lara Tutsch & Carina Wissinger)

Curated by Ivana Marjanović / Kunstraum Innsbruck. In cooperation with Birgit Brauner, Karl-Heinz Machat, Michaela Bstieler and Andreas Oberprantacher / University of Innsbruck & ARCH+ magazine for architecture and urbanism / Berlin

“New forms of coexistence are already a reality.” Marion von Osten

Since cities have existed, animals, whether welcome or not, have inhabited them. The research project and exhibition Cohabitation at Kunstraum Innsbruck considers the specific context of the alpine city as a conflict-ridden home of different species and as a starting point for a futuristic vision of a realm not exclusively dominated by humans: the multispecies city.

Mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, plants, fungi and microbes inhabiting urban space should all
benefit from a balance they co-create through maintaining the circle of life and death. They grow
and die through presence, cooperation, solidarity and symbiotic relationships.

Artists and architectural researchers, in exchange with local and international researchers,
challenge ongoing developments of human-centered environments, critically questioning
reckless urban designs, human exceptionalism, exclusionary "security" measures, and the
commodification of the natural world. They reflect, propose, and create models of a number of
alternatives whereas animals and non-human organisms are acknowledged as architects and
autonomous urban actors themselves. Join in the exploration.

The exhibition is part of the international project Cohabitation, under the artistic direction of Marion von Osten*, Christian Hiller, Alexandra Nehmer, Anh-Linh Ngo and Peter Spillmann. Cohabitation is initiated by ARCH+ and funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation. International partners worldwide, among them Kunstraum Innsbruck, realize local research projects, case studies and design experiments. Further formats in Innsbruck, Berlin and other locations will take place from May 2021 to March 2022. An ARCH+ publication will be released in 2022. More information: https://archplus.net/de/cohabitation/

Exhibition visit in compliance with current Covid-19 measures.

NOTE: On April 23, Kunstraum Innsbruck will be open from 3 to 7 pm.

*Marion von Osten initiated the project. She passed away in November 2020 and the project is dedicated to her.


The exhibition presents projects by local artists and young architectural explorers. It is also a space for further research and exchange. The project space at Kunstraum Innsbruck operates as a studio conceptualized and designed as a work in progress installation. It will be open for new architectural, philosophical or activist inputs every second Friday 3 – 6 pm.
Parallel to the preparation and during the exhibition, research and design seminars will be held at the Institute of Philosophy and the Institute of Design.studio2 (University of Innsbruck) in 2020 and 2021.


Many animals use the city as a shelter and source of food, as it offers more opportunities than the "wild"; some species cooperate with each other and occasionally with humans. Others are exploited, turned into miserable beings, into unwelcome guests, are driven out, but keep coming back: "almost there, almost gone".

On the outskirts of the city and its periphery, nature is transformed into regulated commercial forests, agricultural and tourist infrastructure, which are subordinated to the needs of the people, which are worth discussing.

In the Anthropocene, technology is increasingly used to manipulate the environment; binary juxtapositions of city - wilderness, nature - culture have become obsolete.
How can we think beyond short-sighted individualism and share the space with “unwelcome guests”? Can we rethink architecture as a process that conceives of inclusive, dynamic, multiple habitats? How can the city’s concept of designated "natural monuments" evolve from isolated trees amid concrete glass blocks and underground garages into a network of near-natural corridors for all species? The question raised by project initiator Marion von Osten resonates in the project: "Can we also imagine human relationships as relations between species (beyond the familiar concepts of ecological diversity) - as a condition without which humans ultimately cannot exist?" In this sense, the Cohabitation project at Kunstraum Innsbruck utilizes the format of the exhibition as a space for enquiry - artistic and architectural experiments that follow critical, poetic, humorous, analytical, imaginary and utopian paths.


As the city limits of Innsbruck also contain forested and mountainous areas, the question who once lived there, was extinct or expelled and would eventually come back, is prominent in the exhibition.

Patrick Bonato

presents his work in progress comic The return of Wolves to the Alpine Cultural Landscape (2021). Based on the scientific research of the geographer Verena Schröder, the comic brings examples of co-habitation of wolf and man in other parts of the Alps (in Switzerland), contributing to the heated, highly polarized debate. Visualizing moments of contact between wolf and man (hunter), the comic translates the experience of an encounter that changes them both. Going back to some traditional models of protection of pasture, wolves do not necessarily have to be enemies of shepherds and hunters. The extinction of mammal predators as the wolf, lynx and bear by hunters and farmers has enabled them to assume the role of maintainers of a balanced population of deer and domesticated animals in the first place. Now that small numbers of these pristine carnivores are returning to their original habitats, hunters and farmers seem reluctant to redistribute some of their acquired power of control.

With the action Wanted (2021)

Nicole Weniger

also comments on the current public debate on wolves by posting signs, such as “wolves welcome” and “Alpine pasture without wolf”. The abject animal is an object of desire and aversion. The artist deals with ambivalences, fears and myths around the wolf and asks who can stay and who decides? Referencing the “wanted poster” that depicted “criminals” in the past, she creates a new version that reveals the absurdity of the search for an officially protected animal, which is often immediately (and illegally) killed when it sporadically appears in Tyrol.

The discourse of human security has taken even more absurd turns in recent years. In the video Marking (2021), Nicole Weniger presents a short docu-fiction about the case of a “cow attack”. The protagonist "Schuale" a local artist and a seasonal herdsman, talks about getting into legal troubles as one of the cows he is in charge of, injured a hiker. Based on real events, this video performance and accompanying photographs are a humorous take on the exaggerated discourse around safety in nature and its role for local tourism.

Further art works by Nicole Weniger, the photographic duo Almost there, Almost gone (2021), are poetic visual reflections about the question of what remains in nature and what is transient? Her markings in the landscape depart from text and language as symbols of human control over the forests and mountains, but also of human care. Looking closely at increasingly disappearing snow and abundant worlds of the symbiotic relationships of lichen where different species fungi, algae/bacteria, and plants co-evolve, Weniger juxtaposes concerns for ecological ruins with the hope of flourishing life and possibilities for regeneration.

Roland Maurmair’s

art works in the exhibition focus on birdlife. They are simultaneously funny experiments and critical commentaries on the hegemonic behavior of us humans towards other living beings. The installation Airfield (2021) is a feeding ground for songbirds. Modeled as the image of the local airport, this bird landing strip is also an artistic proposal and call for increasing the bird populations (rather than deterring them away by installing decoys on trees). The tower, which is also a feeder, uses a solar-powered lamp to illuminate two runways for Maurmair’s feathered friends. One Airfield is in the exhibition and a second one will be on display in public space. If you want to feed the birds, just add some seeds. No human food please (like bread), it is not healthy for birds.

While Maurmair provides the birds with human infrastructure on the other hand, he playfully “offers” the humans birds’ architecture. The installation Singlehit / Garçonnière (2021) is a further development of his past work. It consists of an oversized bird’s nest with a terrestrial antenna connection that supposedly receives signals from outer space. Here, Maurmair refers directly to the acute housing shortage in Innsbruck for both animals and humans.

The exhibition also presents a new Kunstraum Edition screen print by Roland Maurmair Forests to Those Who Live in Them (2021) which ironically brings housing debates that originated in the squatting movements and leftist critique of real estate speculation into the current discussions on cohabitation. The slogan is a reference to graffiti present on numerous buildings in Vienna. For Maurmair, raccoons are the anarchists among the animals and the artwork likens them to the young activists of the climate movement today.

The project Through Barriers (2021) is a cooperation of

Gina Disobey & Ina Hsu

. It consists of two interactive multimedia installations. You are invited to enter, touch, smell and feel! The artists depart from reflections on hostile architecture: the barriers that protect us, give us security, but are simultaneously the obstacles that cause discomfort and fear, and prevent coexistence (think of sound and light pollution in the cities). Humans expel animals as well as other humans, for instance, by barring homeless, beggars and poor city dwellers from access to public space. In the form of a “hanging garden” and a “hanging cabin”, using plants, images, sound, light and other effects, the two installations Breath Through and Break Through ask us to take a break, feel and re-think our own boundaries and anxieties. Living in a time of a pandemic has momentarily altered relationships: humans isolated in their homes (offices) are turning to other-than-human contacts.

“We have been living with wild animals always” says

Ina Hsu

. Her photographic black-and-white works sometimes feature oversized drawings of wild animals and insects in communication with humans or in interactions with human made habitats. Ina Hsu re-stages what has always: the cohabitation of humans and non-humans. Based on field research, interviews with wildlife experts and persons from her surrounding, Ina Hsu continues what once started at her home as intimate imaginary, but also real representations of togetherness. Using artistic means for creating visions of closeness, photographs with their distorted precision are combined with stylized digital drawing to depict different layers of what the artist actually considers "home".

Text: Dr. Ivana Marjanović


Architectural Explorations by studio2

“One who builds a house only does exactly what nature would do, if it were able, so to speak, to ‘grow’ houses.” Aristotle

What do we understand as “nature“ in the era of the Anthropocene? How would we like to design our environment in the future? How much control are we willing to surrender in a project? How much space are we prepared to give up? What uncertain terrains do we want to step onto? What type urban growth can simultaneously create more (living) space for all species? Which new (in-between) spaces open up, beyond the predominant (capitalist) logic of exploitation?

These were questions that aspiring architects asked in a design studio with Birgit Brauner and Karl-Heinz Machat, which was part of the architecture master’s program at the Institute for Design Studio 2.

Alongside the theoretical standpoints, the starting point for their work was their research and fieldwork on possible forms of “nature” found in our immediate surroundings—the urban environment of Innsbruck, one’s own four walls, or one’s own skin.

The outcome is a series of works from abstract spatial speculations to concrete architecture on a broad range of topics: abandoned, magical, corporeal, tamed nature, parks, gardens, horticulture, agriculture, metabolism, body/mind enhancement, and free space.

Sophia Niederkofler

, Wearing Nature – Wearable Nature (2021)

Sophia Niederkofler

discovers speculative new spaces, hidden habitats and immaterial spheres, which surround humans and influence their behavior toward other species. From a different perspective on our environment, animals and plants are viewed as architects of our spatial surroundings. She focuses on an invisible habitat: human skin as a habitat for countless microorganisms. Thus, humans are not perceived as individuals, but as holobionts. Imagining a new interspecies relationship fuels our imagination, as scenes from artworks—like Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights—or stories become reality. While microorganisms are enlarged, wild animals and humans are scaled down, creating a habitat in a way that opens up a different perspective on cohabitation.

Bernd Baumgartner & Daniel Alber

, Supporting Nature (2021)
For the safety of the city dwellers, when trees become weak, sooner or later they have to be removed, even if their “natural” life cycle is not yet complete. As the soils beneath them increasingly become sealed, their roots are constricted which interrupts the communication among trees and impedes the supply of nutrients.

Bernd Baumgartner


Daniel Alber’s

project questions the “rights of the trees”, creating a tree cyborg to extend the lifespan of compromised trees. They take the copper beech tree in front of the Haus der Musik as an example – a natural monument at a historically significant site, surrounded by architectural monuments, the fate of which also appears to be sealed.

Louisa Sommer

, The Uninvited Guest (2021)
Mold, moss, lichen or algae grow—largely inconspicuously at first—under what they consider “ideal” climate conditions inside and along the walls of buildings. When they emerge in their full color and forms, the uninvited guest has long since infiltrated our protective habitat—the human comfort zone. In her work,

Louisa Sommer

views the interior and exterior of buildings as support structures for nature without engaging with the common negative connotations of these microorganisms. Leaving these conventional boundaries behind allows for the host space to be understood as a liminal space and hospitality as a liminal situation. In a series of collages, she sets the materials of the support structures in relation with the microorganisms’ diverse forms of appearance. Superimposing, drawing over and scaling images to different sizes brings about speculative spaces for uninvited guests from the plant and animal world like algae, wasps or foxes. Deteriorating, porous and perforated walls form in-between spaces on different scales, niches for a great diversity of living organisms—the wall itself becomes a habitat. Even mold has a place, while humans are merely guests.

Daniela Albrecht

, Where Doves Cry (2021)

Daniela Albrecht

, the pigeon is a species that is not acknowledged as having a place in city life. They are everywhere, but belong nowhere. They are vilified and antagonized. Pigeons are pushed to the city’s outermost peripheries: the highest eaves, the world of ledges and façade reliefs. Albrecht likens the pigeon’s plight to that of the youth, who also face difficulties in finding a place in public space where they can be, which are not commercial or designated for a specific purpose. Her response is a series of “pigeon lofts” in cities that run along a north-south axis in the Alps. These tower-like structures link urban roofscapes with the ground below, provide niches and places to retreat to for youth and pigeons—welcoming both species and enabling new forms of co-existence. Albrecht proposes two “pigeon lofts” for Innsbruck: one in Waltherpark for the introverts, and one for the extroverts with a roof terrace and lounge on Marktplatz.

Franzisca Rainalter

, Détrompe-l’œil (2021)

Franzisca Rainalter

sets out in search of what has been left behind, thrown away; traces of natural processes and the everyday culture of humans. Inspired by Détrompe-l’œil (Daniel Spoerri), she dismantles idealistic views of the city. She finds profane places and objects on which microbes have settled, and thus disassembled and reconfigured them. Artificial reefs, façade-climbing plants, courtyard gardens, insects and birds have established urban ecosystems—albeit on different scales. Objets trouveés found in ecosystems of urban remnants from nature have been collected and categorized, resulting in comprehensive “herbariums” in which the finds are documented and the species are linked to one another. Through drawings, assemblages and animation, the finds are re-staged and historicized.

Florian Heinrich & Gabriel Kopriva

, growHAB (2021)
A floating landscape garden superimposed over the city that connects public and semi-public green spaces, creates pathways for animals, increases urban biodiversity and generates new recreational and private outdoor spaces.

Florian Heinrich


Daniel Kopriva

develop a three-dimensional artificial structure, the genesis of which follows reciprocal growth processes. Different plants and animals successively take over the construction, yet also taking care not to impede the growth of the trees. The structure consists of four ecological zones, each of which contributes to increasing urban biodiversity: meadow orchards, rough pastures, bogs and wet meadows, and climbing and hanging plants.

Lara Tutsch & Carina Wissinger

, Eat_Live_Die
Agricultural areas are the largest unsealed free spaces within a city and provide habitats for various species – which

Lara Tutsch


Carina Wissinger

conclude from their research. Their concrete project strategy is defined as: maintaining and expanding the urban green areas to improve the urban microclimate and its optimal utilization through overlapping their uses. Balancing agriculture and sepulchral culture holds the potential for creating a synergetic circular economy. With the help of alkaline hydrolysis (resomation), human waste can be transformed into fertilizer. As long as humans live, they consume agricultural products, and after death they themselves can serve the agronomy as fertilizer, thus providing for generations to come. New forms of burial also need new concepts for cemeteries. By increasing biodiversity and creating habitats, this design process not only considers the benefit to human city dwellers but also the needs of its animal dwellers.

Text: studio2