March 2008, Vienna/Bucharest
The audience follows me walking 800 meters in Vienna’s Inner City, through Kärnternstraße, crossing Stephansplatz, passing by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, finally arriving close to the Lugeck.
While walking, every participant gets to listen, via mp3 player, to an accurate description of a 800 meter long distance of an unspectacular street in Bucharest, and the thoughts I have while walking it.
The same concept for an audioperformance is used for Bucharest, only that time the participants listen to a description of a street in Vienna.
My goal is to create individual inner maps and suggestions about another environment in the heads of the participants, thus to question the space they’re currently moving in by comparing it to another (imagined) dimension.
I created this work mostly driven by my constant urge to question my understanding of what it means to be “used to something” or “used to perceive”, or taking the space I’ve grown up in for granted
and to question it’s influence on my personality.
“I have left the house.
Follow me. (…) The completely straight street itself is about 27 meters wide (thats approximately as wide as 13,5 IKEA Lillehammer Singlebeds or 5,5 Minivans or 142 VHS Videotapes put next to each other lengthwise), the driving surface itself has four lanes, and in the middle there are the tracks for the tramway, which passes in quite long intervals. (…)
You are also not allowed to take pictures of tramways.
Across a small crossroad next to the huge building there is a religious building, i guess that it’s quite old, but I can’t truly estimate its age, also it is not drawn as a church in my city map. A man who passes it crosses himself.
The Boulevard Lacul Tei heads away to the left from the Barbu Vacarescu in a northeastern direction, but not in a 90 Degreees angle but a 45 Degrees Angle. It is a quite huge junction, which regulates two four-laned streets.
I will cross the next street, but the traffic light is still red. I have got to wait for a few moments. During my green phase also the turning traffic is allowed to drive, and the first car approaches very fast, too fast, but it breaks suddenly as the driver sees me.
Crossing junctions or usual streets to me is always connected to the thought of how inconvenient it would be to have an accident here.
In my head I can see myself already lying on the street, nobody knows me and I do not know anybody, and I couldn’t even understand what they would ask me in the first moment, or say to me or yell at me; I couldn’t tell them that since the crash I wasn’t feeling my legs anymore. Not such a good starting basis for efficient communication. I hate it if I can’t understand anything.
I find it interesting that advertising is barely catching my eye , except some shields fixed on lampposts or on that bus and tramwaytickets selling hut on the opposite sidewalk. But maybe I can’t see it too good because the sun is dazzling me, and I mostly try to look on the pavement. Which is not very useful either, because the light is reflected by the ice and the water, which melts faster and faster because of the sun. And of course I have no sunglasses with me.
The whole pavement is covered with ice, and even though I’m wearing boots with a quite strong sole, I have to put my whole sole of foot at once on the ground so that I won’t slip. While I think that I’m moving quite fast despite my strange and slow ways of walking, a guy overtakes me who is not walking like a duck. Embarrasing.
But suddenliy I have to smirk because I try to imagine, how I must look like, or better how my walking must look like for another person..
While I think that I’m moving quite fast despite my strange and slow ways of walking, a guy overtakes me who is not walking like a duck. Embarrasing. (…)The moments thinking about them I’ve already passed a small pharmacy to the right, which is immedeatly followed by a small fancy flowershop, which is again immedeatly followed by a green Palmers, a more expensive shop for underwear, with a stylish decorated shopping window. Next to the palmers there is this cafe/restaurant/bar I never know the name of right on the corner mahlerstrasse/kärnterstrasse, and they have this very special cake, the Imperial Torte, exhibited in one of their windows. I used to have it as a kid, when my father had this guy as a client, who was working in the Imperial Hotel, and who gave this cake to my father as a present once a year. That cake used to taste incredibly delicious.
Thinking about the cake I cross Mahlerstrasse, which heads away to the right from the Kärnterstrasse; on the left side of the street in front of the Opera there’s a metal grey booth, a tourist information. On my side of the street I’m getting closer to a Humanic, a quite popular shoe shop on the corner of the Mahlerstrasse. I remember that Franz Humanic used to produce very artistic and rather irritating advertising TV-Spots and radioads since the fifties, working together with artists. I need new shoes, sandals for upcoming summer. Haven’t heard one of those ads for ages now. Humanic, CumAHin. Now I’m passing by the Raiffeisen Bank which contains my empty bank account. If my father only new. Lucky me, that he’s not working at that institute any more, he would have me incapacitated immedeatly, if he had still access to my account data….”