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Tourists are unhappy about a selfie-ruining art installation near a waterfall in Austria

INSIDER logo INSIDER 6/20/2021 mhumphries@businessinsider.com (Monica Humphries)
a sign on the side of the road: The fake tourism booth was added to the cliff last September. Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber © Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber The fake tourism booth was added to the cliff last September. Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber
  • In a nature park in Austria, it's impossible to miss an odd tourist booth embedded in a mountain.
  • The artwork "Cliffhanger" urges visitors to consider how humans have conquested land for tourism.
  • The work has received mixed reactions, with many who aren't happy that's it's ruining their photographs.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Two hours from Vienna, Austria, the thundering waterfall of Mirafall attracts visitors from across the country and region.

Now, there's more to see than pristine waterfalls in Austria's Ötschergräben Valley.

Embedded in the cliffs near the waterfall is a bright-red, nonfunctioning tourism booth.

It's a piece of art created by the Austrian artist group Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber.

Titled "Cliffhanger," the exhibit has received an array of reactions since it was installed in the mountain last September.

a large waterfall in a forest: Visitors look up to the waterfall and the nearby art installation "Cliffhanger." Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber © Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber Visitors look up to the waterfall and the nearby art installation "Cliffhanger." Steinbrener-Dempf and Huber

Many tourists aren't happy with the work, the news wire company Zenger News reports. Some visitors said the art is ruining their photographs and selfies, and others believe it spoils the natural surroundings.


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"It is a sacrilege what has been done here. This place was a very friendly one before they put this box there in September 2020," artist Katharina Schleifer wrote on Instagram about the installation.

A post shared by Katharina Schleifer (@schamaninkatharina)

But their goal wasn't to please visitors, in fact, it was the opposite, Christoph Steinbrener told Insider.

"The aim of this spectacular installation is to visualize the conquest of the landscape and how the boundaries of civilization are constantly being pushed, including by tourism," Steinbrener wrote in an email to Insider.

The work was commissioned by Florian Schublach, who is head of the Oetscher-Tormaeuer Nature Park where the waterfall is located, Zenger News reported.

"It was not intended to be a popular attraction," he 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."

According to Zenger News, the waterfall and nature park are often overcrowded with tourists and visitors.

The hope is that art ruins the photographs, which forces tourists to appreciate the natural landscape or not come at all, Steinbrener told the outlet.

Steinbrener said that not all tourists are unhappy with the work. Many immediately understood the installation's purpose and were able to laugh at the giant red tourism booth.

The installation is set to remain up until this September.

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