An artist is setting out to create the largest environmental art installation in Europe, and he’s attempting the feat by growing trees. “Breath” is the green vision of Spanish street artist Escif, whose creations have colored sites from walls in Montreal to Banksy’s Dismaland. This latest effort is a departure from his past work, completely free of paint and set to cover a patch of a mountain in southern Italy. Mount Olivella, which overlooks the town of Sapri, was partially deforested in the mid 1700s, leading to regional flooding that still occurs today. Escif intends to plant 5,000 trees over a 30-acre site near its peak as an environmental art intervention that would be visible from miles away. He’s currently crowdfunding for the project on Indiegogo, with an end goal of €30,000 (~$32,000 US) to cover costs from irrigation to transportation. As of press time, he’s raised over €23,500 (~$25,000 US).
“Our goal is to revive Mount Olivella, bringing balance and protecting the environment by planting at least 5,000 new trees,” Escif told Hyperallergic. “So we thought that maybe we should find a way to share a huge global consciousness message with the world, written with those trees.”
That message will be a widely understood, albeit less-than-subtle, one. The trees will be planted in the shape of a battery, creating a peculiar marriage of the natural and man-made worlds. The use of the simple 21st-century symbol, ubiquitous on so many of our devices, seems undeniably effective, quick to convey the idea that we need to recharge our weakening planet so that it can properly function.