neon shelter

interactive installation

6 neon light boxes with motion detectors


Wild animals are migrating. As woodland and other natural habitats are increasingly being destroyed through human interference, martens, foxes, raccoons and others tend to leave their natural environment. Roaming around, they often find shelter in cities, which offer a rich variety of food and save places to hide out. While wild areas are replaced for modern agriculture, housing and commercial use, various structures of cities seem to appear more attractive to many animals. So, not only the number of humans but also of animal inhabitants in Europes major cities is rising. The bigger the city, the higher its biodiversity. Typical synanthropic species, such as pigeons, rabbits, deer or boars, generally get used to the new conditions quickly, since they can enjoy tempting offers in the vicinity of humans.

On the other hand, living that close is a new source of conflict between humans and animals, as they compete for limited space and resources. In order to keep an overview, scientific researchers use so called “photo trapping” to capture and document how populations change and spread.

The artwork, „Neon Shelter“, uses found footage photo-material of such images in an interactive installation. Pictures of city-dwelling wild animals are shown in old commercial light boxes, which suddenly light up for a little while when being passed.

With their vicinity to the advertising aesthetics and the intense colors, the pictures transform strangely and offer an unusual perspective. Now spectators are prowling around in the urban-type glow of neon light. Straying animals and people come together. Who is watching whom doesn’t seem certain anymore. Observers are being observed. Borders vanish.

„Neon Shelter“ plays with the tension between artificiality and naturalness. It examines facets of an urban-rural relationship but also tells of migration, interactions among individuals and the conquest of new living spaces.


©  2015 / Teresa Fellinger und Evalie Wagner