In the summer of 2012, WIENER LINIEN in collaboration with curator Ricky Renier invited the “Transmedia Art” Department at the University of Applied Arts Vienna to develop a project for an unused space connecting the two platforms of the U1 subway line at the Schwedenplatz station. This subject was chosen as the annual theme for the academic year 2012/13. The tasks defined comprised the analysis of the given context and, based on it, the visualization of a site-specific installation. An intense research into this important junction of Vienna provided the foundation for the developed works. The formed group of thirteen students was accompanied by the teaching staff in group discussions and one-to-one conversations.
The approach focused on the relationship between art and space and the examination of art in the public sphere as its subjects. A key question was whether and how art may address a public beyond the confines of art venues and whether the spaces in which such projects take effect can offer an alternative to the protected cultural terrain of the gallery.
The investigations focused on the given space. Its functionality was questioned and taken further toward the idea of a three-dimensional picture. The students explored the place as a transfer space and analyzed the pedestrians’ concrete situation, also considering the interaction between artistic statements and social processes. The reactive effects of the context on a work of art is more complex in the public realm than in the white cube. These inquiries offered the students the possibility to realize projects for a specific architectonic space beyond the world of universities, galleries, and other art venues. Whereas some students took up the subject of movement and mobility, others got their bearings from historical facts or means of designs they had come upon in the surroundings. Small personal gestures were unearthed in the behavior of the masses, while the space also provided an occasion to raise global ecological questions.
The students’ reactions in dealing with the given space were as manifold as the interfaces between the people and historical levels it encompassed. Art in public space generally aims at reaching wider circles of recipients beyond the specialized public of art institutions. The interests behind it may range from environmental design claims to subversive intentions and political manifestations. The thirteen works also show how transmedia art extends into the social field—above all as regards the interest in interferences and interactions of body, space and time concepts as well as sociopolitical and sociocultural aspects.
Text: Brigitte Kowanz
Schwedenplatz U1 subway station between the two platforms, 1010 Vienna
Victor Bamieh, Stephan Blumenschein, Nina Frgic, Xaver Gschnitzer, Julian Inic, Alfred Lenz, Lukas Matuschek, Sarah Rechberger, Julia Rohn, Florian Sorgo, Anna Vasof, Nicole Weniger, Laura Wolfsteiner
Partners and sponsors
WIENER LINIEN, University of Applied Arts (“Transmedia Art” Department)