Inspiration Blast at The House of Ernst Fuchs

I am so inspired today after going to Ernst Fuch’s house which is now a museum. Fuch’s, often referred to as the father of visionary art was born in 1930 in Vienna and coined the painting style “Fantastic Realism.” he’s been a prolific painter all his life and still lives in Vienna today. We took a train and a bus to the 14th District and as we walked up to his house a voluptuous goddess with a golden headdress greeted us.

I was silently freaking out (in the best kind of way), as I walked up the pale blue steps of his house, a beautiful art nouveau building from the late 1800’s, built by Otto Wagner. Fuch’s art is incredible, so vivid and full of life and there are many reasons why climbing these stairs was exciting for me. I have always wanted to make a home into an art piece, to create a world, like Niki de St. Phalle’s Tarot garden in Tuscany. Walking up those steps was like walking into the mind and world of Ernst Fuchs and I was so excited for what would be inside.

image

image

image

I started in the living room. Rich, colorful light filtered in from the stained glass and Ernst Fuch’s epic painting “The Transfiguration of the Resurrected” graced the front of the room. 

image

This wood inlayed piece of furniture impressed me so much. I wish you could see the impeccable detail of it. Everything, down to the lines of the face were so finely done that I had to sit on the floor and stare at it in wonder.

The house is filled with Ernst’s original paintings. As I passed from masterpiece to masterpiece I became increasingly in awe and more and more inspired. My view of my own painting was suddenly reduced to a meager seed.

image

One of the things that inspires me about Fuch’s work is the fine-ness of his lines and the obvious time and labor his paintings clearly took. All of these hatch-marks are nearly hair thin and he painted layer after layer of them, building up rich, multi faceted colors for his figures and objects.

Next door was the Omega Pumphouse, which Fuch’s designed in the 80’s.

image

image

This jewel box was one of my favorite parts of visiting the museum.

And then there was this statue.

image

Go see it for yourself if you can. It’s 11 Euro for general admission and 6 for students. More info about the museum 

Bones under Vienna

Underneath St. Stephan’s Church is a catacombs bursting at the seams. It’s filled with more bones than I have ever seen before. Bones from the royal Hapsburg family, bones from the bishops, the clergy, embalmed organs from important people preserved in blackened copper pots, rooms full of coffins, rooms full of skulls, rooms piled up with bones over bones. There are “Bone rooms” where they would force laborers to clean the bones and stack them in neat piles, femurs on femurs, ribs on ribs. There are the mass graves, chambers full of bones from over 11,000 plague victims and there are also thirty other rooms with four hundred coffins in each, stacked high to the ceiling. 


I was beside myself as I passed by room after room piled hight with bones, each skull representing a person with a life full of stories and experiences.
I was told by a man at the church that there used to be a cemetery around St. Stephen’s Platz. But sometime after a law was passed prohibiting cemeteries inside of city limits. Finding a loophole, the church decided to bury the bodies underground. But the smells creeping in to the church became so dreadful that people were repelled from attending mass. I suppose this is when they forced slaves to come scrub and organize the bones. It pains me to imagine what these people had to go through. I think many of us know what it smells like when a mouse dies trapped inside a wall. Imagine over 11,000 rotting corpses.

The catacombs smell pretty much like a normal dank cellar by now. I love seeing the underground and hidden interiors of places. Now every time I pass by St Stephens church, I no longer only see whats above ground but have a mental map of the inner chambers… more puzzle pieces of Vienna. After almost three months the picture of Vienna is starting to come together.

Sensory Deprivation Art in Vienna

Interactive installations are one of my favorite forms of art. I love it when the artist shares an extended experience with the audience bringing them into, and making them a part of the art.

My boyfriend Orien and I visited Carsten Höller’s exhibition “Leben” at TBA21, a gallery uniquely positioned inside the Augarten in Vienna. I loved his sensory deprivation tank or “floatation bath.” It was constructed with polypropylene, and is equipped with a spiral staircase, shower and float chamber. The chamber is filled with highly salinated water which allows you to float buoyantly without effort similarly to a sensory deprivation tank (which is usually also dark and sound proof preventing all sense experience. 

Two people are allowed into the chamber at a time. We wanted to try it and so after stripping off our clothes and donning clean white robes, the attendant let us up the waxy spiral staircase with a spray of disinfectant on our feet. We dipped into the brassy colored water which was set at 35 degrees Celsius, the same temperature as our skin. 

Laying in the tank, we floated to opposite sides of each other, not touching anything but the water, which was close to imperceptible. I felt weightless, almost like I was floating in space. The muted yellow light on the inside of the tank warmed my eyelids and lit the inside of them with a rosy orange hue. Problems and cares fell away and were replaced with a sense of wellbeing and a deep feeling of peace. I felt the kind of peace that I remember feeling as a kid, with little sense of time or cares. The only exception was when enough water condensation accumulated on the ceiling and unintentional drops of saline water would fall randomly on some part of my body snapping me out of the state of bliss for a moment, before I could relax back into it. An hour crept by me silently without much notice and eventually a knock on the door rattled me from my blissful state. We slowly got up as if from a long sleep, feeling still very relaxed. I highly recommend this experience. Art that has the potential to bring you peace… pretty sweet.

You can see the installation until November 23rd.  

Inspiration in the Paleolithic Room at the Natural History Museum

Museums are a great way to get inspired and at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna there are many wonders…

A new view of the Venus of Willendorf

I adored these incredible relief sculptures with pterodactyl and prehistoric gators in the dinosaur room.

The subtle details worked into the architecture of the museum are astounding. Floating around the central dome are sculptures of cherubs in conflict with a variety of different creatures. The one on the right in the photo above has his arm being smashed by a lobster’s claw.

Orien and I were feeling inspired upon leaving the museum and impulsively bought a tube of marzipan on our way home…

Presenting: The Wienus of Villendorf 

The ARS ELECTRONICA Gala

Austria,

I was thrilled when our 4 Aces collaborators ARS Electronica invited us to their annual gala.
Last Friday my friends Zel, Bruno, Cosima and I hopped on a train to Linz to celebrate with them.

Cosima and Zel Sleeping on the train

The Gala started with a humorous Robot dance performance.


And then they presented the six Prix ARS Electronica winners selected out of 2,703 entries from 77 countries. 

I was inspired by Project Fumbaro (meaning “hang in there”), by Takeo Saijo. It is a crowd-sourced volunteer platform benefitting earthquake survivors in Japan. He created the network after the 2011 earthquake to bring funding and helping hands directly to the people in need. His work is such a great example of how creative technology can provide avenues of productive change. 

Aftermath of the 2011 earthquake in Japan

Then there was BlindMaps by Markus Schmeiduch, Ruben can der Veuten and Andrew Spitz. 

They designed a special, technologically-advanced walking stick for people who can’t see. The walking stick uses touch-sensitive technology and GPS and talks to the user, guiding them to their destination safely. 

And then from the group Universal Everything from the UK there was Walking City, a really beautiful animation and sound piece of a creature walking and continuously regenerating its surface from crumbling buildings to slick white shards of glass.

They honored Roy Ascott, a visionary thinker and the great pioneer of telematic art. 

Possibly my favorite project was the intervention at CERN by Julius von Bismarck.

Details from the ARS Electronica website:

INTERVENTION IN PERCEPTION - NUMBER 1 - DARK SPACE
"As part of his residency, Julius is making interventions at the CERN laboratory. The first intervention took place in one of the hidden spaces at CERN where no one ever goes: the underground tunnels which have housed the archives of the organisation since 1954.
22 physcists were led in complete darkness through the  winding tunnels to another small, enclosed space which they had never seen before. They were placed in different positions in the room, being warned that other people could be in there too – their only sense of the space  and who might be there being generated when they spoke. Unable to see, deprived of their visual sense, they were asked to describe what they saw in this dark-space, after they had listened to an old recording of Bertrand Russell discussing Plato and his cave of representation. 


Wow. It’s striking work. It’s a science/art intervention. Sounds like fun too.

After the awards they served drinks accompanied with an array of pastas and we sat outside on the stairs underneath the red and yellow lanterns, across from the Danube. 

I like Linz~

Here is a video of the marvelous fireworks display at the ARS Electronica Festival. They lit the fireworks off the boats with a spectacular show of light, smoke and sounds.

Video by Perola Bonfanti

Strom in Linz

I was in Linz to attend the ARS Electronica Gala and after the event we crossed the Danube River to the ARS Electronica (Art and Technology) Museum to have some celebratory drinks at a place called Strom, which I loved. As we walked inside, experimental noise music streamed out of the loudspeakers which ran along the top of the building below a long row of solar panels.

image

Everyone dining at Strom seemed to have a silent dress code agreement of black and white.

image

I was enchanted by the myriad of plants growing all around the ceiling. It gave the place a healthy freshness. There is so much art and graffiti gracing the walls of the place which seemed to go on forever inside.image

The playful atmosphere is enhanced with a foosball table and there’s even a swing inside one of the bathroom stalls. We sat outside and I ordered a couple spinach and goat cheese samosas; greasy but tasty, but greasy.

image

I was happy to find that their ketchup was not Heinz, but another brand which was BIO, german for organic. There is a real feeling of quality food in Austria and I think Europe in general. 

image

We stayed there all day and into the night talking to different people. I had a great conversation with a guy who built an impressive digital art installation at the Vienna Airport and another with our project manager at ARS who is doing our app for the 4 Aces our interactive art project in Vienna. After chatting with a few more new acquaintances I hung out with the rest of our crew on the big steps across from the museum, drinking gin late into the night. 

And they had a most spectacular fireworks display.

To be continued…

Education, Exploration and Expression Threatened. The Internet Needs Us

You are using the internet right now I imagine, and so am I~
You might agree that the internet is our most powerful tool to unite people and to build a better future. But our internet is being threatened RIGHT NOW by Big Telecom. Our law-makers will soon make a landmark decision about our internet. September 15th is the last day for public input.

Right now our online world is protected through “Net Neutrality." the fundamental principle of the Internet that allows users to access the authentic world wide web freely without censorship or implemented errors and buffering, which you might know as the Spinning Beachball of Death (SBBOD).

image

Image via http://www.mixcrate.com/

Huge corporations are threatening our internet freedoms, trying to create a two- tiered system where corporations who can afford to pay for the fast lane get wider access to the public. This means you may not get to see what you want to see. This means all of the grass roots organizations, the small business, the start-ups, get pushed down and you might have to wait a long time for their page to load.

And if that’s not bad enough, if this goes through I’m afraid it is just the beginning of the stripping away of our rights to information (generated by the whole of humanity) and the way we know the world today. The internet is education, connection, expression and so many other things. Can you imagine a world where you couldn’t find any alternative news or perspectives? Can you imagine an internet similar to main stream television? I shudder to think of that. It may seem extreme or very far away, but it’s brick by brick that builds a wall.

image

Image via guardianlv.com

BigtelecomVstheWorld.org says:

"The clock is ticking: Key decision-makers are about to make a landmark ruling on this Internet slowdown – we have to raise a loud global call by the crucial September 15th deadline for public input."

I cannot stress how important it is to fight for this. For you, for me and everyone, please take a moment to sign this petition of three million and counting and share it with your community. Thank you, thank you~