In the last year POF Collective have conducted a number of participatory interventions in public space. Our first action in May 2016 took place in a popular Viennese park next to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21). In August during the participatory design conference Aarhus in Denmark, members of POF collective exhibited the project as well as provoked a small scare amongst participants. Most recently POF were at a public square in Linz, by invitation from and in collaboration with the Architecture Forum of Upper Austria (afo) and the Society for Cultural Policy Upper Austria (gfk). In autumn we presented our project at two international conferences in London and Hong Kong. Currently we are working on an exhibition at the KUNST HAUS Wien.
NO HOPE NO FEAR – Projekte zu Mut und Unerschrockenheit
KUNST HAUS WIEN // Vienna
Ausstellung KUNST HAUS WIEN, 18. Mai 2017 – 18. Juni 2017
2015 hat sich das Politics-of-Fear-Kollektiv an der Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien formiert. Lehrende wie Studierende des Masterprogramms Social Design-Arts as Urban Innovation realisieren und wählen Projekte und Aktionen, die zeigen, dass man sich vor Angst nicht fürchten muss. Das Kollektiv geht kritisch wie ironisch der Frage nach, wer hier eigentlich wem Angst machen möchte.
Längst gilt es, Stärken zu bündeln, neuen Mut zu fassen, diesen als eine demokratische Tugend wiederzuerobern. Das Kollektiv bringt Courage in die Garage des KUNST HAUS WIEN, involviert sich und das Publikum, hat eine beunruhigende Bibliothek der Angst angelegt und weiß, dass Mut nie bedeuten kann, furchtlos zu sein. Ganz im Gegenteil: Die Ausstellung fordert zu Mutproben heraus und sie gibt deutlich zu verstehen, dass wir nicht auf Zukunft verzichten wollen.
Do 18. Mai 2017, 19:00 Uhr
Eröffnung: Bettina Leidl, Direktorin KUNST HAUS WIEN
Zur Ausstellung: Em. Prof. Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor and Chair in Discourse Studies, Lancaster University/University Vienna
Das Detailprogramm zur Ausstellung entnehmen Sie bitte der Website http://www.kunsthauswien.com
Graffiti, Alfred-Adler-Straße, 1100 Wien, 2017, Foto: PoF Kollektiv
Open Design for E-very-thing // Hong Kong
Hong Kong Design Institute, November 2016
cumuls hong kong
We were given the chance to present our project at the “Open Design for e-very-thing” CUMULUS conference in Hong Kong in November 2016. As part of our performative presentation we secured an unattended piece of luggage and read out safety instructions to the audience.
afo // Herbert-Bayer-Platz, Linz
In collaboration with Architekturforum Oberösterreich and OÖ Gesellschaft für Kulturpolitik, September 2016
By changing the identity of the square, POF decided to provoke a reaction by making use of people’s inhibitions about foreign cultures. The concept was to project an exaggerated vision of the future, by installing an object that symbolically suggested an Islamic presence in the square. We wanted to be careful not to appropriate any religious artefacts or elements that might cause an offence, yet the course of conceptual development resulted in a design for an appropriation of the Kaaba cube in Mecca.
For this intervention at the end of September 2016, POF designed and built a 4 x 4 m cube structure that enclosed the central tree of the square. To heighten the Islamic metaphor, we recorded a piece of original music that resembled the Muezzin call to prayer in auditory style, yet with the lyrics, “fürchte dich nicht” (German for: No need to be afraid). By using a megaphone to project the music, the song resounded through the neighbouring streets and attracted a significant amount of attention from residents and daily users of the public square.
In order to make the space more approachable, approximately 300 miniature black cubes were placed around the main structure. This created a buffer zone between the public square’s perimeter and the center. People were able to walk across the open space, yet still be captured by the installation.
The interior of the cube was set-up with carpets, floor cushions and benches, so to create a relaxed atmosphere for discussion, in contrast to the provocative exterior. Members of POF were present inside, and were there to facilitate a discussion revolving around the display of fears collected from the previous action in Vienna.
We chose to re-write a selection of fears as newspaper headlines and post them on the interior walls of the cube in order to continue the production from the previous action, and to initiate the process for the current one. To emphasize the role that the media plays in fear construction, the template of the newspaper alludes to one of Austrian’s most known tabloid newspapers.
Over the course of two days in Linz, the mounting collection of fears meant that more and more discussions were opening a fresh and current dialogue on the notions of fear in public space. As such, new points of contact could be founded, and new points of departure of the project were established.
Participatory Design Conference
T.R.A.D.E.R.S // Aarhus, Denmark
Our project was chosen to be exhibited as part of the T.R.A.D.E.R.S. exhibition in August 2016. It was group curated with different approaches by the visitors. Members of POF Collective used this opportunity to engage with people of the city (as well as the conference) with a provocative action. Distributing fear inspection notices within people’s handbags and backpacks was a tactic to raise awareness of our project in a performative manner.
Politics of Fear Picnic
TBA21 // Augarten, Vienna
In collaboration with Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, May 2016
Today, a fence serves as a symbol of societal exclusion and metaphor of political strategies against refugee aid. This is visible in the current construction of the 175 kilometre long fence in Europe along the Hungarian–Serbian border. At the first intervention in Vienna, POF decided to implement a 15 metre stretch of barbed wire fence to make a clear reference to the newly built borders inside and outside of Europe, and used it as a display mechanism for the collected fears and hopes for the future of Austria and Europe.
Conveniently, the action took place on the Sunday of the Austrian Federal President elections (May 22nd 2016), which naturally created a tense atmosphere because the candidates came from the two most extreme opposite parties: exactly the climate that POF is interested to work in.
During the course of the action, passers-by were invited to sit on picnic benches and exchange thoughts for fruit through a gap in the barbed wire fence. After talking with the team about their concerns, participants were asked to note these down on paper slips and attach them into the framework of the fence. This meant that the responses could be easily read by others and become starting points for a continuous discussion.