Scrap Giant on Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz as a Memorial Against Electronic Waste

More+ ♦ Published: October 5, 2022; 11:55 ♦ (Vindobona)

In front of the Soviet Heroes Monument, a giant scrap metal statue stands six meters high on Vienna's Schwarzenbergplatz. An installation by German artist HA Schult was designed as a memorial against electronic waste.

The statue is about six meters high and composed of a lot of electrical waste. / Picture: © Jovanna Glück

The "Wertgigant" by German artist HA Schult is to function as a memorial. The artwork is intended to draw attention to the negative impact of disposed electrical appliances on the climate.

Composed of the amount of electronic scrap that is produced in Austria every 20 minutes, the work can now be experienced in Vienna after stops in Germany and Linz, for example. Until October 10, the scrap metal man functions as a dynamic counterpart to the rigid Soviet soldier at the monument behind the fountain.

According to ORF, the artist's consequence was to declare, "We have to make a very loud collective stand against what we are currently doing in terms of stupidity." The "value giant" was financed by the appliance insurer Wertgarantie, which thus wants to symbolize the figures of a study it commissioned. According to the study, the survey of 5,213 consumers showed that Austrian households alone produce around 27,500 tons of electronic waste a year.

"He is one of the more popular Germans at the moment. An ambassador for the environment and against the unculture of throwing things away," said Schult, pleased with the career of his sculpture. He sees this issue pragmatically today because, with his oeuvre, he was already campaigning against the exploitation and destruction of the environment in the 1960s, according to the ORF. HA Schult said, "Even then, politicians knew: if they tell the truth, they won't be elected. That has always been the case. But now the truth has caught up with the politicians."

The 83-year-old Artist HA Schult has long been concerned with the environment, not least because of his trash sculptures called Trash People.

However, he said according to ORF, recent world developments, in particular, have been counterproductive in the fight for an environment worth living in. "We're just seeing that even the kiddies are now shutting up because this war is distracting us from everything else. And those who used to catch votes with the issue of the environment are suddenly only calling for tanks," Schult criticizes the Green party.