RESPONSIBILITY?

[Concept for a] sound installation against daily racism [in public space]

concept | idea | research | interviewing | sound editing alexandra reill
public relations | production kanonmedia | vienna 2009

Contrasting Walter Benjamin’s text The Desctructive Character, text citations out of the media on contemporary fascism in Austria 2009 and answers given by passers-by in interviews led by Alexandra Reill on how follow-up generations of the 30ies and 40ies of a so-called Austrian “mainstream society” feel about taking on responsibility for NS atrocities in Austrian history, the sound installation especially focuses on answers given by members of a so called “Vienna mainstream society” in the course of an interview series conducted by Alexandra Reill with the main question being: “As child or grandchild of members of  a war generation with “autochthonous Austrian” background, do you think that you are obliged to take on responsibility for the Nazi atrocities?”

The responses give cause for reflection – what is status of consciousness today, what is the status of today’s debate? How spread are oral traditions mystifying the Austrian role in NS times? Are such myths strong traits of collective consciousness? Are there any regularities in the replies given, any standardized answers and, if so, what do they look like? Are there still fascist traits?

People pull back to the “same old stories, my grandfather was still a boy then, it is not my fault.” (1)

sounds bad, this anti-semitism-virus! 
and us Austrian, we are probably infected with it from birth – quasi like original sin.

and Is there no vaccination against it? 
or that you have a kind of condom put on the tongu holding bakc all a.semitic words?

we should organize kind of an antisemitism aiding lifeball (2)

The sound installation works with the spoken word, intervenes in the everyday life of people and creates a chance to become aware and conscious of denials in own identities, which otherwise, in everyday thinking, might be perceived as “normal”, therefore being in the dark, in the unconscious but perhaps constantly active.

To be heard on a public square for three nights, the statements of those interviewed form a public sample and reflection of existing attitudes. RESPONSIBILITY? is a sound installation creating a break in the current gears of daily life. It interrupts daily life.

RESPONSIBILITY? was designed as a project participating in the festival kultur.NEUBAU 2009. The installation was to be installed at the bar-restaurant 7*stern, located at Siebensternplatz, 1070 Vienna, in June 2009. The loudspeakers were meant to be installed in the bar-restaurant as well as in the guest garden in front of it. In the course of setting up, 7*stern decided that the sound installation was too disturbing for its guests, and it had to move into the back room. Visitors could enter the dark room, sit there silently and listen to the audio track.

The three day installation was opened with a public panel researching the relations between NS-repression and contemporary ways of discrimination/ segregation of people having different cultural backgrounds, with a special focus on everyday language and everyday attitudes. The panel took place in 7*stern.

RESPONSIBILITY? supported by

— commission of culture 1070 vienna

RESPONSIBILITY? installed at

— 7*stern / vie / a / 09

RESPONSIBILITY? featured by

— burgenland orf kalender / vie / a / 09
— ö1 orf kalender / vie / a / 09
— falter / vie / a / 09
— a.viso kalender orf / vie / a / 09
— augustin / vie / a / 09
— klagsverband zur durchsetzung der rechte vo diskriminierungsopfern / vie / a / 09
— safari / vie / a / 09
— rhizome / nyc / us / 09
— 7*stern / vie / a / 09
— labournet austria / vie / a / 09
— a.c.t.i.o.n. / vie / a / 09
— kulturen in bewegung / vie / a / 09
— dmoz search engine hits page / ch / 09
— twur / int / 09

(1)
Fibiundchillie: posting in: DerStandard online, 14-05-09, in reply to: Petra Stuiber: Mainstream-Antisemitismus, 12-05-09; access: 23-05-09. Translation: Alexandra Reill
(2)
kapitän nemo: posting in: DerStandard online, 19-05-09, in reply to: Petra Stuiber: Mainstream-Antisemitismus, 12-05-09; access: 23-05-09. Translation: Alexandra Reill