Chinese rock to be placed on Austrian peak

A Chinese artist is to place a four-tonne rock on one of Austria’s highest mountains.Organisers of Styria’s Regionale10 festival announced today (Tues) that famed architectural designer Ai Weiwei’s creation will be positioned on the peak of the 2,995-metre Hoher Dachstein on 23 June.They said the rock from the Chinese province of Sichuan will be transported with a lorry to Austria before a helicopter carries it to the mountain.Ai Weiwei – an outspoken critic of the Chinese regime – said the aim of his “Hoher Dachstein” project was to highlight the tense relation between humans and nature.The rock set to be placed on the Dachstein reportedly fell off a mountain during the Sichuan earthquake in May 2008 in which around 70,000 people lost their lives.Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most influential social activists, is well known for the design of the Beijing National Stadium. The venue – nicknamed the “Bird’s Nest” – was the main location of events of the 2008 Olympic Games.The 52-year-old artist’s blog articles focus on uncovering alleged corruption by Chinese leaders such as improper building of schools which collapsed in the Sichuan quake, causing the death of thousands of children.An overall 51 communities in the district of Liezen are currently taking part in the second edition of the Regionale festival featuring theatre performances, musical shows and art exhibitions under the motto “In der Mitte am Rand” (In the Centre – At the Edge).Organisers explained the event’s title was an attempt to make people aware of the comparable small number of cultural events normally happening in the area, while it points out at the same time that the central province had a lot of potential.The Regionale10 – which opened earlier this month – will run until 14 August.News of Ai Weiwei’s “Hoher Dachstein” project come days after it was confirmed that 100 life-size sculptures will be set up in an area of 150 square kilometres in the mountains in the province of Vorarlberg this summer.Kunsthaus Bregenz said local officials recently gave the green light to erect the sculptures by English artist Anthony Gormley after four years of planning and heated debate. Organisers said the “Horizon Field” statues represent “a place where a human being could have been”. They explained hikers and skiers will be able to reach the statues, while some will be visible but not accessible.”It is quite a complex logistical operation to place the sculptures in the Alps. They weigh 640 kilos each and will be transported via helicopter,” a spokesman for the Kunsthaus Bregenz announced, adding that the plan was to leave them until April 2012.London-born Gormley said “Horizon Field” was dealing with the key questions of human life. The Vorarlberg project will remind some of Gormley’s “Event Horizon” public sculpture installation on in London in 2007 and New York City this year. It consisted of 31 life-size male bodies made of fibreglass and cast iron placed on prominent buildings. Some spectators mistook the figures for people planning to commit suicide.