this reason, Thomann made an image-light-incarnation-installation
("Self-portrait as Austria’s Highest Mountain [I’m
Winning My Religion]"), in this context he worked as artist-curator
and presented four young Austrian artists and artist groups (320x200,
Tonki Gebauer, monochrom and Richard Wientzek), including
himself as the centre of this staged mental map; as Großglockner
(the highest Austrian mountain), around which the four groups
or individual artists resided like holiday resorts.
tries to address the problematic of national representation in
an art context – being neither able to represent a country
nor willing to do so – and to name it further. Thus, it
was not only an already established big national artist, Thomann,
(whose name and biography links ”Austrian art history" with
all progressive avant-garde moments of art, leftist politics and
pop since the 1960s), but also the artistic-creative offspring/reservoir
of a country: the location factor "art.” That two of the
four projects/people curated by Thomann really exist, is –
like everything real, and pretty accidental at that.
albeit quite strictly organised Thomann-320x200-Richard
Wientzek-monochrom-Tonki substance attaches great importance
that the following is expressed as exuberantly as possible:
The aesthetic star system – the staging of the self as Thomann’s
mountain in an installation that is still attributed to Thomann
(also in the exhibition catalogue and the official press releases)
– as well as the capitalist penetration of artistic representation
in the form of the art market should be promoted and accelerated
with unhindered speed, because speed always signifies disintegration.
For the young
art group it seemed to be of highest importance to capture examples
and real movements of Austrian contemporary art in an almost photo-realistic
manner and with it a certain self-indulgent masterly expertise.:
stood for the recovery of realistically broken down drawing room
-320x200 for globalised-critical conceptual art;
-monochrom for osmotic target art and
-Tonki Gebauer should programmatically overload the entropy in
the field of contemporary video art as well as the New Viennese
Gebauer’s work represents the attempt to remix Fritz Lang’s
silent film classic "The Nibelungen" from 1924 with regard to
the scenes and images as well as to the underlay of a specially
generated, commonplace sound track.
In this regard, Lang’s film is highly interesting in terms
of portraiture since it witnesses the establishment and propaganda
of racist stereotypes in the fairly young medium of film. –
Lang’s Huns seem to empathise with termites in prototypical
Nazi diction: stooping, light-sensitive, in earth holes living
creatures, whose existence forms a strange kind of teeming. –
Moreover, he co-founded the medial tradition of heroism, which
is mainly based in the explicit depiction of violence. The coupling
of (colonial) power and heroism was fostered by the newly generated
possibilities of visualising filmic-photographic reproduction.
To emphasise this aspect, the video was cross-edited with the
ubiquitous composition elements of war reportage on CNN, e.g.
scenes of the nightly sky during the operation "Desert Storm"
or flashes of channel logos.
At the same time, through the reference to the Nibelungenlied,
the national contexts of representation in the 18th century were
functionalised and re-edited: Lang’s film per se is explicit
through the insert "Dedicated to the German people,"
which is joyously reiterated though the editing technique of the
On the other
hand, the Nibelungenlied provides a text, which is free from historical
overload and uses and not in the least understandable for today’s
recipients because its epistemological inscriptions can also not
be decoded on a philological level. The thinking modes formatted
in the text remain closed off for today’s readers: "Oh
my God, they use a history which repeats itself", is what
Gebauer lets a Hun call with a text insert.
of known, sometimes altered quotations of the repertoire of Pop
culture might establish an iconographic link between traditional
and current modes of representation and thus refers to the epistemological
context, which is narrated along with the (bourgeois) idea of
At the same
time, the references to material aesthetics in the sound track
recur on current forms and material treatments in electronic music,
which works with this aesthetic idea of representation in a new,
but loyal form, e.g. when Gebauer uses a worn-out CD-burner as
a percussion instrument with Wireless L@n adapters (at 25:06 minutes
of the sound track).
editing strategies try to connect the Niebelungenlied in its filmic
interpretation by Lang as a visual event according to the critical
level of consciousness in terms of editing as well as the fulfilment
of the tasks of the elevated entertainment needs, to contemporary,
avant-garde or progressively oriented contexts. It is not possible
to not fulfil these expectations in the end!
What we are
dealing with especially is the depiction and perception of real
and existing contexts along with their genre-specific filmic adaptation:
the experiment. Furthermore, also because it is fun to speak like
everybody and say: the sun rises, provided that everybody knows
that this is idiomatic speech.
Hence there were attempts to stage several pre-formatted video
effects of the editing programme as festivals of themselves within
Such a structural-aesthetic surplus is owed to the attempt to
generate visual effects in over-extension and to live the technically
possible access as permanently excessive demand of the arbitrary.
Picture duplications and reflections, the introduction of a continuously
promoted painting of the academic painter A. Hitler etc. tells
the street ballad of the loss of the primary level of narration
– which, already inherent to the master copy of the text,
albeit only selection wise – and can only be generated as
pseudo rhizomatic floristic series and line-ups.
pursuing a deterriorialisation of the found material, this contemporary
challenge of technology only facilitates a re-terrotorialisation
as trash-bound psychedelics, as it only stifles the starting material,
Lang’s film, at relative speed.
a very special problem upon making the film was Gebauer’s
talented dilettante inability to synthesise (demanding a high
level of professionalism, which was not accessible to the participants,
otherwise they would already be earning a lot of money in the
IT business), and at the same time de-counterfeit calculable eruptions
of taste in naturalistic, though slightly teasing manner.
Originally, the film should only facilitate the ad hoc completion
of the fourth project, which was not yet defined in the installation
planning of ”Tonki Gebauer." The tasks listed for this occasion
(according to the protocol of the preparation meeting of December
29, 2001): "Something should be going on so that the
exhibition does seem real. Let’s just put up a monitor and
a VCR, that’s cheap anyway” was totally over
fulfilled. Instead of being just something, Gebauer’s film
is a sophisticated and strongly defined document of human eagerness
In the end,
Gebauer’s filmic scenario turned out to be the most expensive
element of the exhibition. Unfortunately, the last 10 % of failure
took up 90 % of the time. Not to mention money.
The film is
dedicated to the international art scene, mainly to curators and
schools, which have to go through it, because they simply have
Apunkt Schneider / Johannes