teresa novotny

At the blue hour

Ballhausplatz Vienna 2019
We are here
(the many)
even when we sleep
even when you do
(safe and sound)
bare in mind
we know
we’ll have

At the peak of the rightwing government in Austria in 2019, people take to the streets during the weekly well- organized demonstrations to voice their protest against the reactionary, misogynistic, and antidemocratic legislations of the government.

Both coalition parties distinguished themselves by ignoring the demands of the people vocalized during the very well organized demonstrations, regardless of the number of people attending the public events or the coverage in the media, including social media. This approach rendered these events ineffective and, as a result, rendered one of the most important instruments of democracy wor- thless. Hoping that people would forget through the power of invisi- bility and eventually return to their routine... well, just go to sleep.

To bear witness and document so- cietal injustices, the human body, in its presence throughout history, has proven to be the strongest statement. But it was always most effective when it appeared unex- pectedly and uncomfortably. And above all: documented, so that others could see it.

In front of government buildings at the blue hour, a naked body re- minds us that it is indeed present and conscious at all times. Not only when it is allowed to demonstrate publicly, just to be ignored. And it fulfills its own claim to recognition by documenting itself; it has power over its own representation. And in this case, the body is the message, not only directing its own gaze but the awareness of all towards itself.