ARENA FOR A TREE | walk-in art intervention | Münsterplatz Basel by Klaus Littmann – presented by Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger | 27.4. – 6.6.2021
Ceremonial planting of the tree of liberty on the Münsterplatz Basel on January 22, 1798
Basel’s Münsterplatz is the stage of the tree. A fir tree, bare except for its tip, raises the Jacobin cap, sign of political freedom, above the roofs of the city in January 1798. Twice at least – apart from the Christmas tree erected here every year – a tree was placed in the center as a sign of its time. At that time, nature provided its supreme protagonist for the celebration of political triumphs. The soaring tree of liberty rallied the population, envoys and members of the French army around it. In 2021, the tree has become a protégé, as it were. Surrounded by a specially constructed arena, it invites visitors to experience a silent, microclimatic showpiece. Trees have become bearers of hope for a livable future. The risk of exploitation has long since ceased to come from birds, but from an overheated global economy that also puts the forest at risk. Therefore, we are not invited to the freedom dance, but to the reflection on a natural carrier of the global ecosystem.
Text: Isabel Zürcher