Ruprechtsstiege Project: a site-specific temporary installation with Lisl Ponger for the Hotel Metropole. Der Erinnerung eine Zukunft geben project of the Vienna Festwochen 2015.
The Hotel Metropole was situated on Morzinplatz in Vienna’s first district. A modern Jewish-owned hotel, it was confiscated by the Nazis after the 1938 Anschluss and turned into the largest Gestapo headquarters in the Third Reich. Nearby houses were used as Sammelwohnungen [collection or concentration housing] for Jews due to be transported to concentration and extermination camps.
Postcard for Vienna Festwochen.
Postcard project for Vienna Festwochen 2015: Hotel Metropole. Der Erinnerung eine Zukunft geben [Hotel Metropole. Giving Memory a Future]
The postcard is concerned with actual events and their official historical interpretation (the construction of myths and master narratives and the appropriation of icons and counter-narratives) in the Austrian context of Morzinplatz/Hotel Metropole (Second World War) and its wider implications and connections.
High up on a cliff on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal, there is a disused public building, the old Palais de Justice. It was built during the last years of French colonial occupation and for more than quarter of a century has ceased functioning as the civil and criminal court it once was. It forms the core of the video installation that reflects on the building itself, its erstwhile function as well as wider issues and associations such as the nature of memory, historical contextualisation, biographical recollections and record keeping as a means of imposing and maintaining control of a (colonial) population.
Built in the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Aspang Station was part of the Vienna – Thessalonica railway project. From 1939 to 1942 it was the station from which over 47 train loads of Viennese Jews were deported – over 50,000 people. After the war and Austrian independence the station went into slow decline till it was eventually demolished in 2001 and the site scheduled to be part of a large-scale redevelopment project.
The sight of machines removing the tracks and digging trenches into the former platforms seemed particularly evocative especially since the safety barriers round the excavation had the same colours as the Austrian flag. With issues of restitution and memorialisation still being debated in Austria, the visual image also resonated up with the historically racist elements of Western tradition – measuring and classifying “races” and assigning them a position on a scale of purported civilisation. The US laws classifying anyone with “one drop of black blood” as non-white; legal sterilisations carried out on Native Americans and asylum patients into the 1970s; the invention and propagation of the pseudo-science of eugenics throughout Europe, etc. Read More…
The point of departure for the four-part video installation […] is a series of fragments of the 35mm film with the title “Tuareg” which was found at a flea market and probably shot around 1970. Tim Sharp’s thoughts revolve around the significance of the discarded, excised images which were of no apparent value for the “real” product which itself remains unknown. Looked at more closely, especially in the light of Sharp’s montage-producing new scenes, these out-takes prove to be informative with regard to the plot for the production of a documentary film. In the first place they are the shots made immediately prior to the “official” takes. They show the clapperboard with scene numbers or the arms of the film crew reaching into the image and they show, above all, the depicted, the Tuareg, in a ”preparatory” state, waiting for their cue. Read More…
The project comprises 35 picture-objects made between 1996–98. Each contains a visual and a linguistic element. The latter is in one of two languages, German or English and the “message” is in Braille, a written code based on raised dots to be read with the finger tips. During an exhibition the sighted may only look at the works (as in a normal gallery) while the blind are allowed to explore the works by touch. Since the Braille is greatly enlarged, readers have to re-work their knowledge of space – it is the difference between the page of a book and a house-sized poster. One of the most important aspects of an exhibition of the works is the intended interaction between the sighted and the blind. It is an exchange which illuminates different interpretations of reality. Read More…