Stranger to the Trees realises in hybrid artistic form the new materiality of forests in the time of ubiquitous human-made plastic pollution.

The multimedia installation explores the interaction between microplastics and trees as carbon sinks. How do trees and microplastics coexist in forests, capturing carbon in the time of the climate crisis? Combining video, interactive sound and sculpture, Stranger to the Trees queries the response of forest ecosystems to the ubiquitous and irrevocable dispersal of microplastics around the Earth.

The research from Stranger to the Trees resulted in a peer reviewed scientific article showing that microplastics cross from the soil into tree roots, the first publication reporting this phenomenon in trees.

„Microplastic inclusion in birch tree roots“ (2022) Austen, MacLean, Balazatengui and Hölker, Science of the Total Environment, 808, 150

Stranger to the Trees has been further developed into an online installation in collaboration with


Stranger to the Trees is realised within the framework of the European Media Art Platforms EMARE program at WRO Art Center with support of the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.

Experts: Joana McLean, Section 3.7 – Geomicrobiology, German Centre for Geoscience. Franz Hölker, Ecohydrology, Leipniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries. Daniel Balanzategui, Natural Science Unit, German Archaeological Institute and Section 4.3 – Climate Dynmaics and Landscape Evolution, German Centre for Geoscience, Simon Barraclough, Pawel Janicki, Kamila Mróz, The Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design, Michal Adamski.

Special thanks to: Matthias Strauß, Bernhard Bosecker, Kristen Rästas, Kelli Gedvil, Andreas Baudisch,