Cityscapes: The Vienna That Never Was
Vienna Shorts Program
Mit Blick auf Wien / With a View of Vienna
dir. Johanna Moder, Austria, 2008, digital, 11mins. color, German w/ English subtitles
Flat viewing in an elegant Viennese neighborhood. It seems like the landlady and the potential renter have worked it all out. The girl has been looking for a flat like this one for herself and her boyfriend for quite some time - sunny, spacious and with a large roof terrace. And her classy appearance goes well with the expectations the bourgeois landlady has about future renters. After all, not everybody can afford such an exquisite flat. All that is left to be done is sign the lease. The girl´s boyfriend is about to arrive to do just that. But this is exactly when things get complicated: The girl´s boyfriend is not from Austria. (elevenminutes.at)
Phantom Fremdes Wien / Phantom Foreign Vienna
dir. Lisl Ponger , Austria, 1991- 2004, digital, 27 mins. color, German w/ English subtitles
A Taiwanese celebration, a Nigerian Harvest thanksgiving, a Turkish wedding, the official state holiday of the Ivory Coast, a Thai New Year, a Roma meeting, a Czech booze up. Almost every country, every culture, every ethnicity is represented in a large Middle European city such as Vienna, and has its own forms and conventions for preserving its identity. People meet each other in congress centers and backrooms, in restaurants and places of worship. In the years 1991 and 1992 Lisl Ponger undertook a systematic search for "Fremdes Wien" [Foreign Vienna]. She kept a diary of her encounters. Eleven years later she edited a film out of the material in which the results of her participatory observation (usually with a Super-8 camera, sometimes only with a tape recorder) are ordered according to different categories – visual and technical as well as "anthropological" motifs play a role. Off screen the filmmaker herself speaks the commentary about her ordering of cultural things, which she proves are simply "constructed" – a monk beats a drum, a river rushes by, the pictures and the sound come from two different areas. Phantom Foreign Vienna is a deconstruction of common "book illustrations of different peoples." The focus of attention is not occupied by the characteristic gesture, the typical costume or the distinctive music (the proof of the essence of a group) but the multifarious forms of transition and montage. Representation becomes an open process, foreign Vienna remains, despite its nearness, a phantom. (Bert Rebhandl / Translation: Tim Sharp)
Wien 17, Schumanngasse
dir. Hans Scheugl, Austria, 1967, digital, 3mins. b/w
The length of the street and the length of the film strip become identical by an apparent equation: space becomes time, space distance becomes time distance/duration. The words "the duration of the film is identical with the duration of the drive through Schumann street, but the length of the street is not identical with the length of the film strip" overlook, that time and space are reflective, and mis-understand what is demonstrated in Wien 17, Schuhmanngasse, the relativity of the reality of experience. Our sensual organs provide a daily film, whose rules may be made conscious by this film. We will never know, how long this street really is, since rules and structures of reality are only gaugeable by the rules and structures of our image forming calculations, thereby never examinable. (Peter Weibel)
1100 Wien George-Washington-Hof
dir. Christoph Weihrich, Austria, 2009, digital, 4 mins.
The George-Washington-Hof in Vienna's 10th district, a block of council flats built in the late 1920s, is protected as a historic monument: a monumental witness of innovative, contemporary residential building. With his 16mm camera Christoph Weihrich filmed the five generously laid-out courtyards of the building. One can feel the silence and the snow of winter. A relic from bygone times and yet alive: People and dogs leave their shadowy traces behind.
Die Wiener Werkbundsiedlung / Forms in relation to life
dir. Heidrun Holzfeind, Austria, 2014, digital, 60 mins. German w/ English subtitles
The title of Heidrun Holzfeind’s film about the Viennese Werkbund housing settlement signals from the outset its concern with the interrelationship of life and forms. Architecture invariably narrates a piece of human cultural history as mirrored in its style. In this regard, should attention be drawn to a living space, the narrative necessarily becomes personal. So it is that life not only makes demands of form, but that these very forms subsequently determine life in and with them.
In the 1920s, the Werkbund architectural association stood for a new kind of functional design, sober and unadorned, but meeting residential needs. The individual was to be the guiding criterion for the structure, resulting in a relationship between form and living consistently identical to space and need. Various living spaces constructed atop one another took up a small square footprint of space; the differences in the vertical levels provided every portion of space with a purpose: Only people who make themselves at home here, willing to symbiotically integrate, experience the unfolding of the space. This relationship between the person and house corresponds to that between inside and outside. Windows and doors to the terrace and garden draw day to day life out into green space. In the film this is reflected in images circumscribed by multiple spatial constellations. These are images of everyday life in the Hietzing settlement, originally conceived of as a building project to facilitate a synergy between different social classes. In her documentation Heidrun Holzfeind realizes a form of architectural measurement that is expressed through the biographies of the inhabitants residing in the settlement. In this way, the film ultimately delivers forms positioned in relation to life.(Lena Stölzl) Translation: Eve Heller