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This collection of essays explores certain neglected aspects of this haikai master's literary and philosophical con
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Table of contents :
Table of Contents
Person in the Crowd: Stories of Supersuit
The City a Stage
Performing the City, Performing the Space: Touching the Invisible
First Test Setup
Second Test Setup
To Suit the Super
Development of The Structure
Dynamics in Equilibrium
Projection as Mirror of the City
2. Addis Ababa
Condominium in Lideta: Lawns, Castaways, and Art
Making Sense of Confined Urban Realities
Discussion of the Performance on Mexico Square in Addis Ababa
Supersuit & Gold Field
Project Credits / Colophon
Edition Angewandte Book Series of the University of Applied Arts Vienna Edited by Gerald Bast, Rector
DA NI E L A SC H WA N D EN / M I C H AE L WALLR AF F (Ed s.)
Supersuit Poetic Inter ventions in Urban Spaces
TA B LE OF CONTEN T S
Daniel Aschwanden / Michael Wallraff Editors’ Foreword
P E R F O R M A N C E D I A RY 7 1 V I E N N A 72
Brigitte Felderer Person in the Crowd: Stories of Supersuit 8
Michael Wallraff The City a Stage Daniel Aschwanden Performing the City, Performing the Space: Touching the Invisible
2 A D D I S A B A B A 90 Solweig Kieser Condominium in Lideta: Lawns, Castaways, and Art
Berhanu Ashagrie Deribew Making Sense of Confined Urban Realities
F I R S T T E S T S E T U P 34
S E C O N D T E S T S E T U P 44
Manora Auersperg To Suit the Super
Conny Zenk Projection as Mirror of the City
D E V E LO P M E N T O F T H E S T R U C T U R E 54
Discussion of the Performance on Mexico Square in Addis Ababa 100
3 WU HAN
Mu Bo Supersuit & Gold Field
Biographies 110 Arne Hofmann Dynamics in Equilibrium
Project Credits / Colophon
EDITO RS’ FOREWO RD
DA N I E L ASC H WAN D E N / MIC H AEL WALLR AF F
Supersuit is pure idealism: a self-initi ated, self-financed, and c ompletely autonomously conducted art project in public space, impossible to classify, somewhere between performative archi tecture and spatial performance. Supersuit is a prototype of a spatial enve lope that can be altered interactively in combination with a human body. Numerous studies, models, and spatial experiments as well as a series of concrete p erformances were produced in collaboration between dancers, architects, artists, and engineers. S upersuit was tested locally at very d iverse locations in Vienna, Austria, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Wuhan, China, and s ituated in the respective social fabric. This small volume provides a documentation of our experiments of the past three years and brief reflections on performative architectures in public space. It poses questions regarding the boundaries between the public and the private, between the individual
and the collective from a very unusual perspective—that of a spontaneous producer of space, of an on-site designer. With it, the intention is to provide food for thought regarding how to deal with real p ublic space in an era of turbo-capitalism and general retreat into digital social networks. One thing is clear: such questions cannot be answered unambiguously or definitively, but can perhaps repeatedly be illuminated poetically, in part playfully, in part inquiring ly, from various sides. Further considera tions and examinations will follow. We thank everyone who worked on our project with their unpaid, but p riceless engagement and idealism. We also thank the Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien (University of Applied Arts Vienna), which provided financial support for the realization of this publication.
Vienna, March 2017
P E R S O N I N T H E C R OW D : S TO R I E S O F S U P E R S U I T
BR I G I T TE F E LD E R E R
In 1976, the fashion designer Rudi Gernreich was asked to develop designs for a fashion of the future. The designer, who grew up in a politically active family in the “Red Vienna” of the nineteen-twenties, emigrated to Los Angeles and, from there, became famous around the world with his quite scandalous ideas for clothing for an equitable and demo cratic society. He criticized fashion as the privilege of an affluent upper class, which, in this way, represented its status and showed and created differences. According to Gernreich, the society of the future would instead use its clothing as a medium to take a visible stand against differences between social classes as well as against conservative gender stereotypes. The spirit of the time was defined by a vision of technical progress that left earthly social realities far behind, but did not necessarily remove them from the world. Gernreich reacted to this request with suits of armor for surviving in a world characterized by anonymity and alienness. The armoring protected and enveloped the vulnerable body and simultaneously created an in-between space for “public privacy” in unfriendly surroundings. For a “private privacy,” protected at home, Gernreich envisioned clothed nakedness: body makeup that reacted to differences in temperature and lightweight bands of chiffon that promised private feelings of freedom in all seclusion. Gernreich’s urban warriors in their unisex suits of armor concealed
and girded themselves in a world defined by a concentration of media and predictions regarding technology. Nevertheless, if this fashion idea were to be thought through to a pragmatic end, it would most likely result in a suburban nightmare that promises protected privacy, but, simultaneously and nearly inevitably, generates a notion of city that disintegrates into armed isolation. For the architectural group Archigram, in the nineteen-sixties, a use of city that looked forward, into the future, was not hermetic privacy in public space. Urban space arises as a result of networks that quickly expand, and constantly change. Mass media technology is the medium for new urbanization; an Instant City no longer comes and goes. “Education, entertainment, and ‘play-and-know-yourself’ facilities”1 bring big city qualities to every urban concentration, however remote from one another they might be. Architecture is pop, is ephemeral, denotes a free city, but never oppressive suburbs, is public sphere and not private enclave. Cities are no longer constructed, they are flexible and expand able, float, contract, and remain mobile. They do not endure, but instead always only strive for present, and not for an i ntergenerational perpetuity that disavows current needs. City is a second skin for us, just as it is second nature. It can be put on, but not actually taken off anymore. Archigram offered alternative proposals for urban life in the Cushicle
WA LT E R PI C H L E R , S M A L L S PAC E ( K L E I N E R R AU M ) , PROTOT Y PE I V, 3 - PA R T, 19 67
or the Suitaloon, which was then developed from it. From the perspective of the group of architects, all-embracing urbanism and global mobility established the foundation and prerequisites for an enlightened society. These artificial skins are not armors for defense, they instead serve as social hinges and make use of new technologies so as to link habitation as a portable and comfortable structure with the body and with other urban users and inhabitants and their needs. Body and technology enter into a s ymbiosis that is supposed to facilitate freedom in the collective. The Cushicle is a vehicle that makes it possible to carry an entire residential cell on one’s back, a “nomadic unit”2 that offers a high standard of habitation and unfolds— where and as desired—equipped with nourishment, water supplies, radio, television, and heating. The Suitaloon develops the vehicle further and unites all these functions in one suit, transported and supplied with e nergy by the Cushicle. The link between body and habitation becomes closer, dwelling and suit merge into one unit. The Suitaloon then also has interfaces to bigger service nodes providing urban services. The vision is not a self-contained monad, but instead residential cells that can be connected to urban systems in a quite small space, unlike the Minimal Environment 3 or Small Space as conceived and designed in these years by the artist Walter Pichler. His, as he called them,
Prototypes remain individual approaches that are not intended to signify any alternative forms of existence of urban quality of life. Pichler c reated, quasi, a technological future for Walter Benjamin’s “The Man of the Crowd” and envisioned, in a quite cynical way, the d ialectic of the production of space described by Benjamin, which arises when strolling, for the individual as well as for the crowd. “Dialectic of flânerie: on one side, the man who feels himself viewed by all and sundry as a true suspect and, on the other side, the man who is utterly undiscoverable, the hidden man. Presumably, it is this dialectic that is developed in ‘the man of the crowd.’”4 The flâneur as a medium for urban, male- defined structures, between architecture and crowds of people, no longer finds a place in an environment driven by technology. If people become functional urban units that join together as needed, if city is conducive to optimizing and enlightening its inhabitants and users, there is no longer any space for the decadent flâneur who loses himself in the city. Random glances, the perceiving of details, courteously stepping to the side, the city as an aesthetic reference 9
VA L I E E X P O R T, A B R U N D U N G I , 1976 B / W PH OTO G R A PH , FRO M A S E R I E S O F PH OTO G R A PH I C " B O DY C O N FI G U R AT I O N S "
system per se, the possibility to filter and simultaneously to expose oneself without restriction are not functions that urban designs based on a vision of the future offer. Mass media connections accommodate the communicative need for constant information and exchange. Urban atmospheres are reduced to their social usefulness. With her Body Configurations, the artist Valie Export embodies the atmospheres of urban spaces. In them, she attunes herself with the forms, the constructed city landscape. Her body becomes an element in a pathos formula; with her limbs, she measures the urban landscape, examines her female body adapted to the landscape as an “expression of inner states, represented both in nature and in architecture as adaptation, assimilation, imposition, et cetera in or on the environment.”5 The body is not concealed; it instead becomes the medium of the gaze as well as its content. The body becomes a measurement in which internalized social states are placed in an individual relationship. Staged in urban space, inscribed in space in such a way, complementing it, relationships are turned inside out as well as perceived inwardly. The body does not delimit itself from urban space; urban spaces are first produced on and with it, and the fragile boundaries between private and public, disparity and vulnerabi lity are sounded out in an almost painfully 10
B R I G I T T E FE L D E R E R
concrete manner. In this photographic and hence mediatized action, what is concerned is neither personal retreat nor exclusive private spheres. The artist’s critique is not reduced to creating supposed solutions. Valie Export “thaws”—as she describes her intentions—“imposed norms with respect to female bodily gestures and the associated functions of the female body in our culture,” and through doing so exposes the projections and assumptions that ultimately shape space, public space, and simultaneously establish rules for exclusion and inclusion in the world. In her work, Valie Export surrenders herself to the city and, at the same time, nevertheless turns the tables, illustrates immediate space to be a historically evolved reality that becomes readable with a look at the body. The tension between the risk of social death and provoked attention give rise to open spaces that are in turn experienced in a similarly contradictory way— between cold anonymity and disrespectful proximity. What possibilities now reveal themselves in the urban density, which is always experienced simultaneously as protection as well as a menace? With their Supersuit, Daniel Aschwanden and Michael Wallraff have also created a structure that is both symbolic and real at the same time, that not only adapts to the current conditions of public urban space, but also simultaneously produces them. The suit is super,
MICHAEL WEBB © A RC H I G R A M , 19 6 6 –7 C U S H I C L E, S TAG E S O F I N FL AT I N G O U T: L E F T ) S U I T U N O PE N E D ; CENTER) COMBINED SUIT A N D C H A S S I S O PE N I N G O U T; R I G H T ) TOTA L C U S H I C L E F U L LY O PE N E D O U T A N D IN USE.
sets itself above circumstances and conditions, and gives rise to something new that neither indulges in technological euphoria nor is closed to media networks. The actors and activists are simultaneously audience, and vice versa: roles are not defined. No obligation to the collective is imposed, but answers are nonetheless sought when questions arise. As a result of its well-considered static and manipulable structure, the suit is able to quickly disappear or appear. It does not become autonomous, remains connected with space and people, and is protective as well as ephemeral. It reflects the social qualities of urban spaces through provoking communication or also retracts as an urban backdrop: everyone acts as they would like and are able. Supersuit produces a mi nimal space that does not constrain, does not become dulled to mass media filters. Supersuit with its functions is not armor, not a cell, also not a bubble or a minimal habitation unit. It exposes itself to curious visibility, to all preconceptions and projections. On its part, Supersuit becomes a medium that faci litates further spaces of imagination, does not take up residence at a particular place nor strive to form alternative structures. It is not a monument, does not claim any autonomy as an artwork, and always surrenders itself to processes and mutability. It does not predefine any scenario for the future or lift off in cool fiction. Supersuit is both real and
poetic. The changes that emanate from it are not dogmatic, but nevertheless critical, they are accommodating and, at the same time, ultimately linked with a grand history of artistic practice, which has opened up the city to us from a critical perspective as a psychonautic as well as class-related landscape. Supersuit makes it possible for us to once again experience anonymity in big cities and concentrated locations anew and afresh, also as an existential context for freedom. It does away with fear where there is no reason for it, and gives courage where courage once again needs to be apprehended as a democratic virtue.6
1 “Instant City,” in Archigram, ed. Peter Cook (London: S tudio Vista Publishers, 1972), 86–101, see esp. 86. 2 Ibid., Mike Webb, “The Cushicle,” 64–65, see esp. 64. 3 The Minimal Environment project, a telephone booth with various added life functions, was created for the Biennale de Paris in 1965, in cooperation with Hans Hollein and Ernst Graf. 4 Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, prepared on the basis of the German volume edited by Rolf T iedemann, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin (C ambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 2002), [M 2,8], 420. 5 According to the artist, in VALIE EXPORT, exh. cat. on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at the OÖ. Landesgalerie (Linz, 1992), 68; an English translation of the text “Body Configurations by Valie Export” can be found online at: http://loves.domusweb.it/body- configurations-by-valie-export-1972-76/ (accessed April 3, 2017). 6 Cynthia Fleury, La fin du courage (Paris: Fayard, 2010).
E A R LY S K E TC H F O R A S U P E R S U I T BY M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF F O R T H E FI L M FE S T I VA L SC I EN C E FI CT I O N I M PA R K , 2014
↑ ↑ M A N O R A AU E R S PE RG ,
M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF, K L AU S S TAT T M A N N
↑ DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
T H E C I T Y A S TAG E
M I C H A E L WA L L R A F F
A B R I E F J O U R N E Y T H R O U G H P U B L I C S PAC E
And what do all these questions have to do with our Supersuit, a tiny instrument for spontaneous performances in the city?
On a trip from Carinthia, Austria, to Kassel, Germany, I think about so-called public space. Next to me lies a paperback edition of Aldo Rossi’s The Architecture of the City, but who still reads such a dinosaur today? Apropos Kassel: Isn’t it where the first pedestrian zone in Germany is located?1 I begin to reflect on the idealism of the urban planners of the time: urban space was a direct result of an enlightened bourgeoisie, of a democratic atmosphere of renewal. But what does a pedestrian zone mean today? A shared lobby for international shopping chains? And: Do we even still need real, physical, public spaces? Aren’t they a nostalgic cliché now that we constantly act publicly in social networks? Isn’t it rather the private sphere that is threatened and the fact that public space is s imply everywhere? Or do we, the citizens of the city, meet on public squares at lunchtime or after work, observe spontaneous encounters there, or debate current events with friends and acquaintances, as can still perhaps be seen in one or another small Italian city on warm evenings? Or do we sit drinking cappuccino on the street in an open-air restaurant and watch people’s hustle and bustle in the flux of the city with a slightly inclined head, our cellphones poised, ready? Or has public space become an event zone for district festivals, promotional events, small demonstrations, and (nationalistic) rallies?
P E R F O R M AT I V E A R C H I T E C T U R E
When Daniel Aschwanden appealed to me two years ago, following a joint workshop in the Social Design class at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, I was immediately enthused: Wasn’t it about nothing less than a direct connection of a human body with a space? Yes, it immediately seemed to me to be the correct, fundamental corollary. For years, I had been observing how most of the architecture discussion had been distancing itself from referring to people, from the human scale, and from fundamental questions such as protection, shell, tool, and pain. It seemed as if architecture was only still about abstract methods, about computation, about parametrically generated, formal sensations, and theoretical constructs. At the same time, in the fascination with parametrical design tools and ultimately also in the use of BIM,2 it is possible to recognize a need for directness, for ongoing modifiability and interactivity. But is the participation of users, the involvement of people in their surroundings, also connected with this? Not necessarily, as I see it: When we increasingly talk about spatial processes in the language of geneticists, microbiologists, and ↓ C O N T I N U E D O N P. 19
P E R F O R M I N G T H E C I T Y, P E R F O R M I N G T H E S PAC E : TO U C H I N G T H E I N V I S I B L E
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
After working for thirty years in the so-called “free scene” in Vienna, I cannot recall any space that dedicated itself to this work—one situated between dance, visual art, performance, and theater—that was truly dedica ted to innovation and experimentation, or that could have or did provide a suitable framework. The idea that, for instance, politicians might have dared new constellations of functions and forms in remembrance of Friedrich Kiesler’s approaches in cooperation with artists and architects was simply inconceivable. Simply upcycling all kinds of “secondhand spaces,” which even when they took on clear forms as, for example, in the case of the Kabelwerk urban development project, were nonetheless realized in a conventional way, remained the order of the day. The creation of the Tanzquartier (Dance District) also did not make any exception to this: rather than building a programmatic space for the twenty-first century, it was only possible to negotiate the flexible construction of the front third of the fixed stands. When the attempt to develop a process- oriented alternative space in the Vienna urban development quarter of aspern Seestadt failed, at least for the time being, I began looking for possibilities within the prolonged vacuum to find forms for a contemporary, transdisciplinary production of space. In the architect Michael Wallraff, I found a congenial partner who skillfully became
involved in the complex undertaking of developing an experimental spatial structure as performative architecture under quite precarious conditions. The textile artist Manora Auersperg also joined our team.
SUPER HEROES AND COMIC SUITS
Everything started with comic heroes and their miracle-working suits. Their s uper suits have various functions: On the one hand, they represent the identity of the heroes and heroines, but often also have qualities that far exceed a purely human spectrum of abilities and support speci fic programs of action or protection. The ability, for instance, to shoot spun threads that resemble ropes and thus overcome differences in height, as, for instance, in the case of Batman, as well as protective functions such as armoring, et cetera, enhance the fighting impact and imposing effect of heroes. As a user of Supersuit, I join the ranks of superheroes and democratize the suit, since it can also be used by others in order to overcome the lack of space in the field of art and the social sector and offer people direct support. And: In the Supersuit proj ect, our intention is to create new aesthetics using novel materials and technologies. In contrast to the suits of comic book heroes, Supersuit, beyond its capacity to ↓ C O N T I N U E D O N P. 20
↑ P. 17 S K E TC H A N D CA S T I N G M O L D F O R A S T U DY M O D E L ← P. 18 M O D E L S T U DY, S CA L E O F 1:20 , 3 - D PR I N T I N PL A S T E R , WO O D M AT E R I A L S , 2015 → G I V I N G S PAC E B AC K TO T H E P U B L I C : T H E AT E R PE R F O RM A N C E I N T H E S H E L L C O N S T R U CT I O N O F A N AU TO B A H N T U N N E L U N D E R Z U R I C H ’ S M A I N T R A I N S TAT I O N : AC H , D I ES E W EG E S I N D S EH R D U N K EL BY J Ü RG A M A N N , D I R ECT I O N : S T E FA N W E B E R ; S TAG E D E S I G N : M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF, 19 93
programmers, the reference to people’s fundamental characteristics and needs becomes lost. Terms such as second skin, body of architecture, operation on the box, et cetera were also already used p reviously, in the nineteen-nineties, but without m aking any direct reference to our first skin, our own bodies, or even to medical procedures.
H U M A N - S PAC E I N T E R FAC E
Daniel, the dancer, the performer, seemed to come at just the right time with respect to architecture’s ever-increasing distancing from the human body: we joined forces in the—admittedly, at first still quite primitively conceived—Supersuit over the course of just a few conversations. The shared vision was clear from the very beginning: what is concerned is a direct, perhaps naïve, but in any case physical and unmediated connection between human beings and space. We were interested in extending, expanding the body, and in the possibility to produce space not based on fixed plans or to use it as a rigid construct, but rather to produce space individually and spontaneously—a generator of space, changeable in a constant flow of movement, just like our bodies themselves. Between hard and soft, stiff and flexible, painful, liberating, pulling together, unfolding, unstable and stable at the same time, protective or also vulnerable, exposed M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF
to outside forces and influences, fragile and fleeting … So we constructed a spatial envelope that can be put on like a suit, that one is able to unfurl, alone or with the help of others, like an eagle does with its wings, seizing space up to the limits of the resilience of the construction material and the limbs of the human body. Over the course of three years, we created numerous models, prototypes, and experimental setups in perpetual ambivalence: Supersuit was supposed to be mobile and flexible and simultaneously space-producing and stable. It was supposed to be ultra-light, wearable like a piece of clothing, and, if possible by one single person, and nevertheless “huge,” producing space and community, and therefore social, indeed effective in an urban context, and performable and usable in the city.
CONSTRUCTION IN CONTR ADICTION: B E T W E E N S TA B I L I T Y A N D C H A N G E A B I L I T Y
Our task was therefore to come up with building techniques that take these contradictions into consideration. Dialogue with artists and engineers from different disciplines was very helpful in doing so. The textile artist M anora Auersperg became an important partner in the project. We began experimenting with tent fabric and parachute silk and building in ribs and poles—bendable and at the same 19
← A S C H WA N D E N , Z E N K , H U R T L , PA R CO U R S I , D E S I G N : RO M A N I VA N C S I T S , PRO D U CT I O N : E X PE R I M O N D E , U R B A N S E E D S 2010 ↓ A S C H WA N D E N , Z E N K , U R B A N I Z E 2013 , PA R CO U R S I V, A R T O F R E A D I N G M A P S
Supersuit is an “urban tool,” a performa tive instrument of poetic urban research used in a transdisciplinary manner. The idea for this is connected with an examination of the performativity of spaces and the relationship between performance and space over many years.
produce space, is open to many definitions. Although it transports the goal of producing space artistically, with each of its missions, it also raises questions regarding how its use can be optimized as concerns forms of participatory appropriation as well as how its structure might be further developed.
Considered from a purely physical perspective, activating the spatial potential of Super suit involves a constant performance of the bodies involved, which consequently gives rise to a precarious equilibrium by means of ever-new, improvised choreographies. Supersuit therefore makes a wide range of possible scores available, the implementations of which are oriented toward using the suit temporarily to create and preserve space.
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
Starting from the idea of a “super costume,” how might a portable, temporary space be created under the most minimal conditions? How can this space be worn on the body? How does the space connect with urban space and involve other interested, curious individuals and/or users? What collective uses in an art and social context does this space permit? These central questions are the basis for the production of Supersuit. In using Supersuit, we take Archigram’s statement, “People are walking architecture,” literally. In series of interventions, Supersuit makes narratives of the urban visible and reflects questions regarding spontaneously improvised, performative production of space in the urban context. In various cultures, I along with various users strive for concrete interactions with unknown individuals in their specific surroundings. What therefore result are answers to the question of how the suit communicates with “knowledgeable,” hence initiated, but also spontaneously with “unknowledgeable” city dwellers.
W I R E M O D E L , S CA L E O F 1:5 , E X A M I N AT I O N O F T H E “ ZO L L I N G E R ” PR I N C I PL E A S A B A S I S F O R A N E L A S T I C A N D S E M I FL E X I B L E S U R FAC E C O N S T R U CT I O N
← TEXTILE WITH POLES ARR ANGED I N T H E ZO L L I N G E R SYS T E M , 70 0 × 70 0 C M , S C R E E N S H OT ↓ WO L F G A N G N OVOT N Y T E S T S VA R I O U S M E T H O D S F O R B U I L D I N G T H E S U R FAC E S T R U CT U R E U S I N G A M O D E L O N A S CA L E O F 1:5
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
D I S PL AY CA S E C O N S T R U CT I O N F O R A M O B I L E E X H I B I T I O N : A RT I ST S ’ B O O KS O N TO U R , PR E S E N T E D I N VA R I O U S M U S EU M S I N EU RO PE : M A K V I E N N A , M G LC L J U B L JA N A , A N D U PM PR AG U E ; C U R ATO R S: K AT H R I N P O KO R N Y- N AG E L , B R E DA S K RJA N EC , LU C I E V LC KOVÁ ; E X H I B I T I O N A RC H I T ECT U R E : M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF, 2012
time fortifying—of spring steel and thin steel tubing. We thought about various methods of folding and unfolding it, about the correct arrangement of tension and compression elements, and, naturally, about the connection to the human body, the interface between body and suit. As soon became clear, the various forms and applications of Super suit, as presented in this small volume, can only be a beginning, a starting point for further considerations and experiments. Since, in our joint, interdisciplinary process, we found more questions than answers . . . From the structural engineers of the Bollinger+Grohmann office, with whom I have been collaborating for many years and to whom we also presented this project, came the recommendation that we examine the Zollinger system,3 a relatively efficient method of spanning curved, self-supporting cladding surfaces using straight poles. But we did not want to construct a static supporting structure or a stiff shell. So we developed a flexible Zollinger-based surface scaffolding in which we, on the one hand, reduced the pole profiles to the absolute minimum, and, on the other, formed the nodes for the poles to be movable, thus flexible. What resulted was an unwieldy, but deformable and supple wire model that was interactive and at the same time unmanageable, in many ways uncertain, and dynamic.
M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF
The next step was to close the open interstices between the poles, so that a spaceproducing surface was created. An elastic fabric, which we wanted to span over the wire skeleton, initially seemed to suggest itself. This would be able to generate a permanently smooth, spanned skin that would be able to adapt to all changes in shape. Doing so would, however, therefore also give rise to constant tensions in the system due to the surface material. The pole system would be subjected to constant prestressing, which would have proven to be extremely problematic and simply uncontrollable in sequences of movement and change. We therefore looked for other solutions. We found one model for our requirements in the plumage of birds, which indeed also adapts to complex series of movement without tension or stress and nonetheless never loses its surface effect. The overlapping and flexibility 23
In the Supersuit project, our intention is to create new aesthetics using novel materials and technologies. As a dynamic factor in the relationship to materials and the production of space by means of architecture, the performer’s body and his or her direct movement and design possi bilities are given an important role. The first interventions took place within the framework of the crossbreeds festival organized by the performance platform Im_flieger in April and May 2014. That time, I was underway with Supersuit in the area of the Margareten gürtel, in the 5th and 12th districts of Vienna, and came across anonymous squares, as described by Lucius Burckhardt in Die Spa ziergangswissenschaft (The science of strolling) as having withdrawn from classical production conditions.1 I, however, also found microcommunities that gather and enter into exchange in public or semipublic spaces. Supersuit became a mobile marker of specific circumstances in urban space, whose soft (social, ephemeral) factors it affirmed, reinforced, or even made visible in the first place, just as it emphasized aspects of harder factors and constructed forms as well. Missions along the Margaretengürtel, among others in the “soccer cage” between the lanes of traffic, show how Supersuit, as an exploration of public and private spaces, intervenes in urban space, and how it can become an instrument for place-making. 24
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
In the spontaneous interaction in the case of the “Balkanteppich” (Balkan carpet) in Vienna, Supersuit and I engaged with the operators of a business that was being forced to close as a result of gentrification and that also functioned as a semipublic, intercultural space for communication. What arose provides an example of how Supersuit facilitates connections with people and their network of social relationships. Exemplary missions during the Science Fiction im Park open air festival in Kreisky Park (June 2014) offered answers to concrete questions such as what performative possibilities Supersuit offers contributing participants and their bodies, and what interactions it produces in the urban context—by means of performances that respectively took place with the audience after various film screenings, whereby Supersuit was simultaneously host and spontaneous provider of space for selected artists from various media fields. An intercultural form of place-making was demonstrated by an action in Lideta, one of the “condominiums” in Addis Ababa. They provide housing for previous residents of “slums” or rural inhabitants who have come to the city, often uprooted from their social contexts as well from their long-established customs. In this sense, Supersuit pointed to shortcomings in the urban space, but also showed perspectives for how they might be addressed. Another example of this
FI R S T T E S T S W I T H S T E E L T U B I N G T H AT CA N B E S C R E W E D TO G E T H E R AND A TEXTILE SHELL WITH SEWN-IN R I B S O F S PR I N G S T E E L
→ P. 27 C O M P U T E R S T U DY A S PA R T O F T H E F O R M - FI N D I N G P RO C E S S F O R A D E F O R M E D RO O F M E M B R A N E AT T H E L ANDESBERUFSSCHULZENTRUM IN GR A Z, MICHAEL W A L L R A FF A RC H I T ECT S , 2011 ↑ RO S A FA L B S E W I N G I N T H E T E X T I L E WO R KS H O P
→ → P. 27
O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F A PPL I E D A R T S , V I E N N A
D O U B L E- C U RV E D E X T E R N A L E N V E LO PE F O R T H E M A RG A R E T E N T U R M ( TOW E R ) I N V I E N N A : T H E VA R I O U S
T H E RO S E T T E S T R U CT U R E R E S U LT S FRO M I T S
T E N S I O N S I N T H E S U R FAC E D E T E R M I N E T H E TO R S I O N O F
F U N CT I O N A S A D O C K I N G A N D H O L D I N G P O I N T
T H E FAÇA D E ’ S S EG M E N T S A N D T H E E X T E N T TO W H I C H
F O R T H E M E TA L P O L E S T H AT S E RV E A S S U PP O R T S .
T H E Y O PE N , M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF A RC H I T ECT S , 20 0 8 –11
of numerous small feathers and/or scales makes it possible to clad any three-dimensionally curved surface. We transferred this principle to our model, and what emerged was an easily modifiable spatial envelope, a stubborn, bendable roof-wall hybrid that, on the one hand, is able to form volumes and span space, but is nevertheless very light, able to be implemented on a larger scale, and able to be moved and changed with the help of only a few individuals.
In a next, future step, we would like to realize another prototype and use it on a larger scale as an interactive screen for marking and modifying public space. Based on our social aspiration, Supersuit should unfold where a greater attention of society to urban processes seems necessary: this might include conflict zones and fault lines in the social framework of the city as well as places where changes are needed and more or less visible hotspots of public interest.
M O D E L A S E X P E R I M E N TA L S E T U P
S T R E N G T H E N I N G P U B L I C S PAC E
The model enabled us to test s equences of actions and movements that took place at the limits of the permissible material stresses and always between equilibrium and a chaos of effects. We endeavored to control the spatial envelope and the spatial envelope simultaneously influenced us, requiring us to perform stabilizing actions to prevent it from collapsing. Direct interactions between human beings and spatial model occurred almost unintentionally. We had already executed our initial considerations in a 1:1 prototype of spring steel and parachute silk. Daniel had performed and tested Supersuit on various occasions and at very diverse locations, and produced astonishing configurations in the urban fabric. Collective test setups by the design team provided insights for planning new models.
The main thing that remains is the fundamental question of the interplay of body and city. Richard Sennett explains it as follows: “In Flesh and Stone, I have argued that urban spaces take form largely from the ways people experience their own bodies. So that people in a multicultural city care about one another, I believe we have to change the understanding that we have of our own bodies. We will never experience the difference of others until we acknowledge the bodily insufficiencies in ourselves. Civic compassion issues from that physical awareness of lack in ourselves, not from sheer goodwill or political rectitude.”4 If we replace the term “insufficiencies” with the “limits” of the body, Supersuit can be an allegory and instrument for just such reciprocal contributions. In the hubris of Supersuit, we recognize our finiteness and open ourselves up to the collective.
M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF
← M A N O R A AU E R S PE RG A N D DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N T E S T S U P E R S U I T AT T H E G A L E R I E G ÖT T L I C H E R , K R E M S , I N C O O PE R AT I O N W I T H S T U D E N T S I N T H E T E X T I L E C L A S S O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F A PPL I E D A R T S . ↓ M A N O R A AU E R S PE RG A N D DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N D I S A S S E M B L E S U P E R S U I T A S T H E FI N A L ACT I O N A N D I R R EV E R S I B L E C O N C LU S I O N O F T H E PH A S E O F WO R K I N G W I T H T H E FI R S T PROTOT Y PE S .
SUPERSUIT AND PERFORMANCE
was the mission on Mexico Square in Addis Ababa (February 2015), which offered young street sellers the opportunity to t emporarily make use of Supersuit as a shop—an action that, however, came to a p remature end as a result of police intervention. A mission with students and teaching personnel of Wuhan Technical University in an equally monotonous and monochrome-seeming urban regeneration area in Wuhan (August 2015) played with the aesthetic and participatory possibilities of Supersuit so as to point out shortcomings by means of pure functionalization and dispensing with design. These deployments showed us how Supersuit changes when used by differ ent social groups and by who e nters the stage that it creates. It acted, among other things, as a provider of shade, sales display, place to retreat, playground, and video projection surface. 28
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
In contrast to “normal” architecture, which assumes a definitive form, Supersuit ’s form is in constant flux: urban spaces, topography, and wind quality affect the ensemble of the suit structure, which consists of a textile material and poles to provide static equilibrium, and performing bodies. The form that respectively arises therefore responds directly to the surroundings. Not only the b odies and the material perform, the surrounding city always does as well. Through docking on, Supersuit creates an urban stage, but functions above all as a marker of public space. It makes reference to the particular location, whether popular, bustling, or deserted. In her book The Sociology of Space, Martina Löw comprehends the creation of space as a social phenomenon that is dependent on social developments. With this process- related concept of space, she sets herself apart from notions that regard space as a rigid social process. As a result of its intensive linking of performative and interactive uses, Supersuit is an outstanding example of a space, in line with Löw’s, that is “derived from a relationship between bodies,”2 hence a space that is produced in a process-related manner through action.
P. 3 0
→ P. 31
FI R S T T E S T: DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N W I T H
PRO D U CT I O N O F A D O U B L E- C U RV E D FR E E- F O R M
S U P E R S U I T I N M A N O R A AU E R S PE RG ’ S
S U R FAC E : M O D E L S T U DY O N A S CA L E O F 1:5 0 W I T H I N
WO R K RO O M , V I E N N A
T H E FR A M E WO R K O F T H E PRO J ECT H O U S E W I T H O U T Q UA L I T I ES 2, M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF I N C O O PE R AT I O N W I T H WO L F G A N G T S C H A PE L L E R , 19 9 8 – 9 9 → → P. 31 FAÇA D E F O R A N E X PE R I M E N TA L H I G H - R I S E B U I L D I N G I N C H I CAG O, M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF A RC H I T ECT S , 20 0 8 –11
In this sense, a small, interdisciplinary art project in real public space makes a contribution to strengthening openness and democracy—at a time, when just such values seem more under threat than they have in decades. Experiments with architecture that extends bodies and urbanistic micro performances help us to emerge from our physical passivity and to strengthen public space. Light is shed on questions regarding the limits between the private and the public, between the individual and society, in a poetic, surreal manner. Thoughtful, I pick up Aldo Rossi’s fundamental theory of the city, which is still lying next to me: “While the division of the city into [individual buildings and dwelling areas] has been proposed many times, it has never been placed in this particular context. Architecture, attesting to the tastes and attitudes of generations, to public events and private tragedies, to new and old facts, is the fixed M I C H A E L WA L L R A FF
stage for human events. The collective and the private, society and the individual, balance and confront one another in the city.”5 The distanced, analytical viewpoint of the old master does me good and permits me, and my thoughts, to relax. Late at night, I get off the train in Kassel Wilhelmshöhe and ride on a streetcar past the, to me, unfamiliar city, past Germany’s first pedestrian zone. It is cold and gray here this night. 1 Treppenstrasse in Kassel was the first pedestrian zone to be planned and realized in Germany. Due to the extensive destruction of the center of the city of Kassel in the Second World War, it was possible to do extensive planning relatively f reely as a result of former urban-planning structures. (Translated from the German Wikipedia article on Treppenstrasse). 2 Building information modeling is a planning m ethod in which a kind of digital, spatial database is created based on all relevant building data. 3 The Zollinger system comprises a self-supporting, vaulted wooden roof construction in which prefabricated elements are assembled in a diamond shape. The construction is named after the architect and master builder Friedrich Reinhart Baltasar Zollinger (1880–1945). 4 Richard Sennett, Flesh and Stone (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), 340. 5 Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City, trans. L awrence V enuti (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1984), 22. Originally published as L’architettura de la città (Padova: Maggioli Editore, 1966).
S T U D E N T S O F T H E C E N T R U M H U M A N B E R U FL I C H E R S C H U L E N I N V I L L AC H I M PROV I S E W I T H I N T H E FR A M E WO R K O F A C O L L A B O R AT I O N W I T H T H E G A L E R I E F R E I H AU S G A S S E , V I L L AC H , A N D T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F A PPL I E D A R T S , V I E N N A , I N T H E U R B A N S PAC E O F V I L L AC H , A N D U S E T H E S E L F - D I S PE R S I N G S U P E R S U I T.
U R B A N I N T E R FAC E
Supersuit becomes effect through being positioned in an improvisational manner in urban space, whose systems it also underscores, and hence functions as a symbol that indicates the imaginative power of viewers. In its potential to empower, Super suit not only stimulates symbolic integration by means of processes of thought and imagination; it also encourages physical interaction. This also makes it possible to consider it from the perspective of “social sculpture,” an expanded concept of art proposed by Joseph Beuys, since it invites action that, “is oriented toward structuring and shaping society,” and therefore pursues a concept of art that is not limited to a material artifact, even though it undoubtedly has sculptural characteristics, and thus demonstrates its ability to give rise to social change.
1 Lucius Burckhardt, “Warum ist Landschaft schön?,” in Die Spaziergangswissenschaft, ed. Markus Ritter and M artin Schmitz (Berlin: Martin Schmitz Verlag, 1980). 2 Martina Löw, The Sociology of Space (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), 9.
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N
S U P E R S U I T PA R T I C I PAT E S I N T H E FI R S T B I G D E M O N S T R AT I O N “ F O R H U M A N E T R E AT M E N T O F R E F U G E E S ” I N V I E N N A O N AU G U S T 31, 2015 . T H E D R E S S C O D E I S: W H I T E — “A S I G N T H AT H U M A N I T Y H A S TO B E T H E FI R S T PR I O R I T Y AG A I N ! ” ( M A I L S E N T O U T BY SO S M I T M EN SC H , A H U M A N R I G H T S O RG A N I Z AT I O N I N AU S T R I A )
FIRST TEST SETUP First test setup of the Supersuit prototype on an urban wasteland directly next to Vienna’s new main train station: D aniel Aschwanden, Beata Kucharska, Michael Wallraff, and Conny Zenk, July 2014 [ PP. 3 4 – 4 3]
FI R S T T E S T S E T U P
Supersuit found itself in a precarious state of permanent change. Minor wind forces already strained the ultra-light structure of the spatial envelope, taking it to the limits of the material properties. Stability was only possible for brief moments, as an unstable equilibrium that constantly had to be readjusted. The system required ongoing interaction by those involved. For a short time, Supersuit was able to form an unstable surface intended to be used by Conny Zenk for projections, until the structure suddenly and unexpectedly collapsed. A mobile p ower unit provided electricity for the projector.
FI R S T T E S T S E T U P
FI R S T T E S T S E T U P
← P. 42 L I T U P R E D I N T H E B AC KG RO U N D : T H E 21E R H AU S — M U S EU M O F C O N T E M P O R A RY A R T, V I E N N A
SECOND TEST SETUP Second test setup of the Supersuit prototype on the wasteland of the Sonnwendviertel Ost urban development area, also near Vienna’s main train station; Daniel Aschwanden, M anora Auersperg, Beata Kucharska, Wolfgang Novotny, and Michael Wallraff, July 2015 [ PP. 4 4 – 49]
S EC O N D T E S T S E T U P
In the second test setup, the goal was to examine Supersuit with respect to its spatial characteristics, not only as a vertical s urface, but also as a roof-wall hybrid. The focus was on the interaction between external f orces (wind), the stabilizing forces of those involved, and the structure itself. During the action, possibilities for optimizing the textile skin and the fixing points between the textile and the poles and/or the poles and the body parts were discussed and d ocumented for the additional prototypes planned. The test setup also called attention to building site “C.16B”, where Michael Wallraff will erect a loft building for creative living and working in cooperation with a dedicated building group.
S EC O N D T E S T S E T U P
↓ PP. 5 0 – 5 3 T E X T A N D D R AW I N G S BY M A N O R A AU E R S PE RG ( PP. 5 0 /51: B AC KG RO U N D D R AW I N G BY G EO RG WO L F )
D E V E LO P M E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E Experiments with respect to an i nteractive spatial envelope: computer models, physical working models, and drawings by M ichael Wallraff with the support of Wolfgang Novotny, 2015–16 [ PP. 5 4 –71]
DY N A M I C S I N E Q U I L I B R I U M
When Michael Wallraff, with Supersuit, confronted us with the task of jointly developing a structure that is both stabile and flexible at the same time, the Zollinger construction method was not necessarily the idea that first suggested itself. This construction method consists of homogeneous l amella that are respectively connected with the other poles in their middle. The generally barrel- or domed-shaped structure primarily activates normal forces, which are then supported at the edge of the structure. The structure for Supersuit, nonetheless, only used some aspects of the Zollinger construction method: the composition consisting of homogeneous individual elements and the joining of the ends of poles with the midpoints of poles. Positioning joints at the ends of the poles, however, gives rise to a flexible structure without a clear loadbearing effect. Depending on the position of the supports (which are not at the edge in the case of Supersuit), different ways of bearing loads alternate with one another. In some
instances, arches are formed, while suspended trusses and bending moments are also activated in the poles in others. The loadbearing effects change over time and as a result of the movement of the supports. A moving loadbearing structure is, in reality, the dream of every structural engineer, who, for this reason, also do not like to be called stress analysts. In their work, structural engineers always focus on the deformation of loadbearing structures, because this makes it possible to understand how they function. And deformation (even if it generally needs to be depicted in a somewhat heightened manner so as to be visible) always means movement. A loadbearing structure always contains potential movement, which in technical jargon and less poetically is called the point of failure. For us, exceeding this limit here and finding a balance between dynamics and static equilibrium, between stasis and motion, is an exciting new chapter in the development of loadbearing structures.
D E V E LO PM E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E
S K E TC H E S F O R D E TAC H A B L E P O L E N O D E S A N D F O R C O N N ECT I N G T H E P O L E S WITH THE MEMBR ANE
→ P. 61
E X A M I N I N G T H E I N T E R FAC E O F B O DY
C U R S O RY M O D E L S T U DY A N D S K E TC H E S F O R A
A N D P O L E A N D/O R B O DY A N D M E M B R A N E
T E N S EG R I T Y- L I K E A R R A N G E M E N T O F T H E P O L E S
D E V E LO PM E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E
↓ C O M P U T E R S I M U L AT I O N O F A DY N A M I C S EQ U E N C E FRO M T H E S EC O N D T E S T S E T U P, S C R E E N S H OT S ↓↓ M O D E L S T U DY, S CA L E O F 1:20 , 3 - D PR I N T I N PL A S T E R , S T E E L W I R E , C E M E N T, 2015
D E V E LO PM E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E
D E V E LO PM E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E
PP. 6 4 –71 S T U DY M O D E L F O R A S EC O N D PROTOT Y PE , S CA L E O F 1:5; CA . 10 0 × 10 0 C M , S T E E L W I R E , J O I N T S PR I N T E D I N SY N T H E T I C M AT E R I A L , P O LYS T Y R E N E , A N D WO O D M AT E R I A L
The Zollinger load-bearing system for constructing vaulted surfaces using straight poles was modified with respect to elasti city and flexibility. This resulted in an unwieldy system of poles that can be simul taneously bent and changed to a certain degree. The supporting structure was clad in a scale-like manner with squares of thin polystyrene, thus forming a fl exible and always closed surface that is able to adapt to any three-dimensional change of shape as a result of the overlapping.
FL E X I B L E N O D E S A S A SY N T H E T I C PR I N T: S U PP O R T I N G P O L E S CA N B E M O U N T E D, I F R EQ U I R E D.
D E V E LO PM E N T O F T H E S T R U CT U R E
PE R FO R M AN C ES AN D TE X TS BY DA N I E L ASC H WAN D E N
G OING P U BL IC
A fenced, seemingly unused square full of unexpected functions; a huge rig turns in skillfully and drives up to a hydraulic ramp with meticulous precision. I dock myself on GEWISTA advertising panels and guide the fabric along the fence and around the corner. My work protocol: Screw poles into each other, and lash metal poles and a strap of the suit to a wire mesh with cable ties. E xhale, stand up with two poles in my hand, and guide and shape the suit as a space. Time. Coming and going. Gazes that en counter one another and are then averted, quickly or slowly. Thanks to the reflective pane of glass of the neighboring travel agency, a pair of eyes above a clock. A tuba p layer who is hurrying to rehearsal and therefore has no time to play something spontaneously, a worker who approaches with curiosity, quickly chews his meatloaf sandwich, laughs, says hello, disappears again. Garbage men, delivery services, dog owners, someone who telephones for an endlessly long time. Students, pupils, a man with an Austrian eagle tattooed on one of his calves, and on the o ther, “I am from Austria.” A driver stops, looks, laughs, steps on the gas. No one talks to me. Time flows by viscously, the shadow of the oversized lamppost moves imperceptibly.
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
DAY 1 _ M AY 2 6 , 2 0 1 4 ST. J O H AN N - G AS S E , 1050 VIENNA C ROS S B R E EDS / I M _ F LI EG ER
VODK A TIT
DAY 2 _ M AY 2 7 , 2 0 1 4 G AU D E N Z D O R F E R G Ü RTEL, 1 12 0 V I E N N A C ROS S B R E EDS / I M _ F LI EG ER
Four, five people are sitting around the table, curious. One asks whether I am on tour with a giant transportable bat. “A foldable space,” I reply. “And what’s inside it?” “Nothing,” I say. “A space around nothing. “So, you’re a superhero,” says another, “Cool!” “Don’t you thinks it’s too white?,” a woman asks me, swaying slightly. “I first thought that you would fly away with the device, and I then expected a banner, an Easter banner, or some kind of banner, with a political text. Don’t you want to spray something on it? Something political!” She holds a transparent half-liter plastic bottle, without a label, containing a reddish liquid in front of her face. “I’m drinking vodka,” she says with a heavy tongue, “my mixture: vodka, some juice, and some, but only a little,” she pauses for a moment and then adds: “water.” “I got started with it two years ago, always after Sharly Cheen—“Do you mean Charlie Sheen?”—“Yes, always after to Charlie Sheen. It came every day, twenty minutes, eight minutes of advertising, and at the end a vodka— that how I started. ‘Vodka tit!’ A boy who was only eight years old said it for the first time, ‘vodka tit.’ It’s now become my nickname; everyone here calls me ‘vodka tit.’”
BALK AN CARPET
Balkan carpets will soon be a thing of the past, garish posters declare unambiguously: We’re closing! 50% off everything! “The building has a new owner; the rent was raised. A fter eleven years, it’s over,” says the manager. A lively street, international flair, people with diverse backgrounds come by, remain standing for a moment, at least turn around. The wind is blowing and I’m experimenting with the poles. It feels a bit like surfing or sailing. “A not entirely spectacular spectacle,” is my attempt to describe what I’m doing. It plays with the politics of attention, but detaches itself from this dynamic as a result of its duration and the fact that the spectacle is produced, for the most part, by the participation of those who expect it. This contributes to the hybridity of the undertaking; I perform, and part of this performance consists of the action of holding the fabric and pole structure upright and supporting the performative architecture. The production of a white spot, a brief disruption in the urban landscape, a difference to everyday life that makes it possible to clearly perceive what the possibility to empathize or make direct reference offers.
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
DAY 3 _ M AY 2 8 , 2 0 1 4 ST EI N BAU ERG AS S E , 1 1 2 0 V I EN N A C ROS S B R EEDS / I M _ F LI EG ER
W H IT E MAN
DAY 4 _ M AY 2 9 , 2 0 1 4 MA R X- M EI D LI N G ER STR AS S E, 1 12 0 V I E N N A C ROS S B R E EDS / I M _ F LI EG ER
It’s cold and rainy. “Remember that you are actually an unnamed comic hero,” I say to myself. A strong wind blows penetratingly. Four figures and their dogs appear, among them several thickset ones, pit bulls, Rott weiler crossbreeds or the like. Except for one, they are all on a leash. Specifically this one now heads for me single-mindedly, tries to reach my back, and begins barking at me. “Let him be, the man is much too white!” screams his owner, puts a leash on him, and drags him away. I place my steel poles through two holes in a sprayed metal barrier. Two t eenagers with a green skateboard come by. “Are you an artist?” asks the younger one.— “Yes, I am, and here,” I point to the metal poles, “I’ve built the framework for a space that I can unfold from my suit, my Supersuit.”—“Cool,” they both say. Two distant policemen only look briefly toward me and continue on their way. “You are so harmless that not even the police are interested in you,” wonders a voice within me. The effect of the white suit. How would people react if it were gray, or even black? A blond woman in a dark blue uniform with a bright yellow safety vest stands on the stairs down to the underpass. She lights a cigarette. Her eyes only glance at me briefly. “My white suit is also a kind of uniform, even if unusual, even for myself,” I muse.
The soccer cage and above the entrance to it a sign: “Become a cage master!” I talk to the goalie, who is wearing a green sweater, and a group of soccer players are standing around me. They nod yes to my proposal to position the suit in the square for a game. I am soon fighting with all my energy against the wind that is r elentlessly assaulting me. It still takes a bit of time until two teams have formed and the fact that the suit will actually remain present on the square throughout the game has been translated into every language. Then things get started, with grins at first, and gradually the suit plays along, serves up surprises from its covering, suddenly lifts off. One pole bends in the wind. The guys chase after the orange-colored leather ball, sidling about, quickly adapt to one another, foil balls, occasionally shoot powerfully. The score at the end of the game is 7:5; the winning team gathers around the suit for a group photo. In the soccer cage, one forgets the cage, even forgets the cars rushing by on both sides—except for a moment of inattention—when someone kicks the ball, makes it bounce a bit too far, so that it literally rolls under the wheels of a car and explodes with a loud bang.
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
DAY 5 _ M AY 3 0 , 2 0 1 4 MA RG AR E TEN G Ü RTEL, 1 05 0 V I EN N A C ROS S B R EEDS / I M _ F LI EG ER
S UPERSU IT @ SCIEN C E FICTION I M PA RK
← P. 8 4 THE COMPOSER AND MUSICIAN EMER KINSELL A AND C L A S S I CA L R E VO LU T I O N A S G U E S T PE R F O R M E R S WITH SUPERSUIT
JUNE 3–8, 2014 KR EIS KY PARK , 1 050 VIENNA
An entirely new framework for Supersuit: as a guest at Science Fiction im Park, the open-air festival that Wolfgang K apeller organizes each year in Kreisky Park in Vienna’s 5th district. The Supersuit interventions during Science Fiction im Park are based on the idea of docking onto various media formats in a hybrid manner. Immediately after the end of the credits, a trailer shows footage of Supersuit missions in the city. Supersuit also appears afterward for real, casting shadows on the screen, unfolding: a film hero that manifests from the projection with undulating white wings. “It’s about everything!” comments someone in the audience sitting around beer tables. Everything? Light. Time. Space. Illusion and reality. Dream and cinema. The animated rosettes created by Conny Zenk now appear on Supersuit as projection screen, making their trails of light between bright white and black appear and disappear. Projection space and performative space merge, shaped by movements, by the bodies fixed to Supersuit as screen itself, all henceforth a backdrop for guest artists such as the “classical revolution” around the composer Emer Kinsella, and the Anaconda Boys, who perform with drums, laptops, and projections. Supersuit also functions as a tool for an improvisation by the performers Jack Hauser and Sabina Holzer, or for a performative installation by the Ghanaian visual artist
Serge Clottey and his wooden sculptures. Supersuit ’s missions are interpreted in quite diverse ways: People who work with textiles regard Supersuit as a textile production, while performance-oriented individuals see it as a performance tool. In the film context, it is regarded as a potential screen. It is the spatial dimension that is created by the suit that plays a role for architects, while urbanists most likely see it as a space-generating and space-interpreting element, a kind of manned urban furniture that is able to act in a very mobile and flexible manner. The true character, the possibility for it to be deployed in a hybrid manner and the diverse communication potentials that it comprises, are, however, barely addressed. Following Captain America and the trailer, Supersuit hosts a “classical revolution” with the composer Emer Kinsella and her music colleagues: Sonja Schebeck on violin, Simon Schnellnegger on viola, and Tilly Cerni tori on cello. There was astonishment in the eyes of those present; they had probably not really expected classical music in such a context. After the first composition, which would work well as film music, interest was peaked when Emer finally began to rap. The surprise was perfect. Released from the suit, I move freely in the space that it delineates, move in front of the projection, approach the oversized image of the rosette, which cuts a circle of light similar to a follow spot, and dance with my shadow until the projection comes to an end. 85
PROJECTION AS MIRROR OF THE CIT Y
In the field of computer-generated 3-D animation, my interest is in structures and surfaces that, composed as digital spaces in the image, generate continuous movement and axle rotations. Organic impulses and movements overlaid with grid-shaped, oscillating lines and stroboscope-like flickers serve as the visual basis in my computer-generated animations. I also work with a specific temporality and narration, which become perceptible in all live visual compositions and improvisations. This process of movement gives rise to a sort of continuity of becoming and ongoing restructuring. In my projections and video-based interventions, I make reference to an urban landscape, city and archi tecture. Image and sound lead the viewer
into a virtual, digital world that at the same time also produces associations and references to real social and political space. The source material is in part video material that is reduced to image information such as black and white, alpha channels, and contrasts using generative software. The material that results still bears the image information from the video. By means of superimposition, a cross-fading effect is created, whereby the concrete image emerges from the abstraction and is manipulated by means of sampling, looping, layering, and diverse filters. The image processing methods are consistently inspired by electronic music production and live improvisation.
PP. 8 6 – 8 9 PRO J ECT I O N S BY C O N N Y Z E N K A S PA R T O F T R A N S D I S C I PL I N A RY PE R F O R M A N C E S W I T H S U P E R S U I T AT S C I E N C E FI CT I O N I M PA R K
2 ADDIS ABABA
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N A N D S U P E R S U I T WITH THE STREET SELLERS ON M EXICO S Q UA R E I N A D D I S A B A B A
↑↑ A M I S S I N G A N D F U N DA M E N TA L LY I M P O R TA N T E X T E N S I O N CA B L E F O R T H E PE R F O R M A N C E I N THE L I D E TA C O N D O M I N I U M B E I N G PRO D U C E D IN A STREET SHOP ↑ A P O L I C E M A N C O M E S TO T H E A PA R T M E N T TO A S K F O R T H E PE R M I T ← A S S E M B L I N G S U P E R S U I T W I T H WO O D E N P O L E S U S UA L LY U S E D I N C O N S T R U CT I O N → P. 93 D U R I N G T H E DAY, PR I M A R I LY C H I L D R E N A N D A R T I S T S O F T H E I T I N E R A N T N E T S A A R T V I L L AG E C O L L ECT I V E TA K E A DVA N TAG E O F T H E P O S S I B I L I T I E S TO PL AY W I T H S U P E R S U I T.
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
FI R E A N D PRO J ECT I O N S A R E U S UA L LY F O R B I D D E N I N T H E L I D E TA C O N D O M I N I U M .
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
C O N D O M I N I U M I N L I D E TA : L AW N S , C A S TAWAY S , A N D A R T
S O LW E I G K I E S E R
Since 2004, over three hundred t housand standardized residential units have been constructed within the framework of the Ethiopian government’s integrated hous ing development program. The condominium housing project, an urban regeneration program to combat the acute housing shortage, has the goal of resettling p eople from social strata with low or middle incomes, who up to then lived in naturally developed villages consisting of one-story clay huts—generally without a connection to the electricity or water grid.
The condominium in Lideta has ample open space, and a small lawn. Uses include laying out various types of seeds, chickpeas, or chili to dry. Traditional Ethiopian activities— washing laundry, pounding coffee, cooking shiro stew in the stairway with charcoal—are still just tolerated. But in the reformatting of the condominium, the residents seem uprooted, like castaways who doggedly appropriate the imprudently designed space.
C O N N Y Z E N K PRO J ECT S A T E X T BY T H E E T H I O PI A N P O E T A N D ACT I V I S T M I H R E T K E B E D E AT T H E C O N D O M I N I U M I N L I D E TA I N A M H A R I C A N D E N G L I S H W H I L E T H E R E S I D E N T S A N D A R T I S T S DA N C E .
MA KIN G SENSE OF CO NFI NE D URBAN RE ALITIES
B E R H A N U A S H AG R I E D E R I B E W
As a public space performance project mainly dealing with production of space that becomes a recognizable and engaging social place, the Supersuit public space project was performed in Addis Ababa at very important moments of transitions and translations of urban spaces and places. Drastic modernization activities in Addis have been emerging aggressively in the last ten years, serving the state’s claim that transforming the city is of urgent concern with respect to the general success of modernization efforts in the country. An increasing number of haphazard, inchoate, aesthetically incoherent glass and aluminum buildings are consuming the urban panorama, increasing the temperature of the city, and everyday urban life is c onsequently becoming more and more suffocating. Important social places and historical public spaces have also suffered due to the rapid activities to transform the city. Common understandings of public spaces that were vital and vibrant are dying out, and places that once functioned as public spaces and memorial sites are now occupied by a strange collaboration between the state and the market. Change is inevitable, and it is undeniable that developing urban infrastructures can ultimately benefit inhabitants, but critical contentions arise when various important urban sites become lost in translation, when neighborhoods become further divided, historical architectures get demolished, and
public spaces, landmarks, and collective memorial sites are destroyed. All these urban realities are affecting the social fabric, thus calling collective societal becoming into question. This becoming is something that we can only shape in the here-and-now moments of the present, for which becoming should be much more important than history. But, in existing urban narratives, Addis Ababa tells us otherwise. The question is hence: “Whose modernization?” As a result of these ongoing urban realities, it is becoming more and more important to have critical and responsible artists who can engage with and respond critically to existing urban conditions, who can perform public spaces and deal with contemporary subjects and conceptualizations, who can generate functional places in or on historicized political spaces, who can offer alternative possibilities for engaging with public spaces, who can develop collective thinking and engagement so as to redefine the spatial and societal conditions that result from the rapidly changing urban landscape, who can continuously question: What is it that we are doing, . . . when we do . . . what we do? In the book Politics, Identity and Public Space, the author writes that: “Performing the public space into a particular social and political place is about transitions and translations, and it is about transfigurations. And it is always about processes that
are embedded and situated, limited but decisive in their effort to think differently and to shape that precise site by altering the parameters and the mental coordinates on which it balances.”1 It is a huge task to perform public spaces beyond the everyday. This therefore requires an understanding of the specific nature of the site and possibilities to negotiate it. Performing public space should not be mainly about who owns the space, but about how we engage with it. In general, it can be seen that existing historical and political realities with respect to public space engagements have been discouraging, especially for Ethiopian artists. Ethiopia is a post-socialist and post- military country that has left visible traces in its engagement with public spaces. During the socialist period, public spaces were entirely manipulated and controlled by the state. The everyday life of people was completely separated from different productive forms of engaging with public space. Even taking photographs or making video recordings in public spaces was strictly prohibited and punishable. The influence of this historical fact still dominates the understanding and engagement of the local community, as well as the reaction of the state. Dealing with these ongoing challenges and performing or engaging with public spaces beyond the everyday requires official permission from the city administration or related
governmental authorities. Otherwise, activities might be interrupted without being offered any possibilities to negotiate. Receiving such official permits require extensive and complex bureaucratic work that no one would ever want to deal with. This reality has critically affected the level of creative interest, intention, and experience and engagement of artists with public spaces in the city. Strangely, most foreign professionals think of this urban reality as an adventure that might merely generate considerable negotiations and manageable effects. But it can perhaps be something that might have serious consequences. The artists of the Supersuit public space performance project considered the information on the locality and tried to deal with the situation in a professional and mature manner. But the artists nevertheless did not make a great effort to stay safe, and, at the same time, also did not expose themselves to unnecessary frictions with the power of the state. The S upersuit project did not obtain a permit from the city administration, but did affiliate itself with a local art school, the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design at Addis Ababa University, and got a letter of support for their activities. In the last six years, the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design has been collaborating with various l ocal and international creative professionals, educational institutions, and cultural organizations, offering extra curricular activities 97
to generate relevant understanding and engagements through multidisciplinary and multicultural creative platforms in contemporary contexts. From time to time, the school has also taken risks by officially supporting various local and foreign contemporary artists in performing public spaces in the city, the Supersuit public space performance project being one of them. The Supersuit public space performance project was one of the critical engagements that took place at core transitional moments of urban spaces and places in Addis Ababa. The project was performed in different locations in the city. The most engaging and extended mission took place in a popular social housing site called Lideta. Along with the rapid urban transformation in the city, the state has been working on different social housing projects, which mainly deliver cheaply built condominium buildings intended for lower-class members of society. So far, these condominium buildings have not functioned very well for the purposes for which they were initially intended and have even turned into scars on the urban panorama. Such social housing sites eventually become gentrified. The rent and price of the houses thus become impossible for even so-called m iddle-class people to afford. On the one hand, the expected form of living and interacting in such sites does not take the former social fabric 98
B E R H A N U A S H AG R I E D E R I B E W
into consideration. On the other, the common spaces at such locations are usually disorganized and fail to serve the function of bringing the community together. As a result, most community members who live in such social housing become distressed, dissatisfied, and even less productive on many societal levels. In general, such social housing sites are in need of a range of immediate, continuous, and engaging possibilities so as to allow the members of the community to negotiate and maintain relationships with each other as well as with their environment. Selecting the Lideta social housing site for Supersuit performance project activities, in which the passive existence of space becomes a particular and engaging social place, was particularly effective. Through the performance activity, the community was offered a new creative possibility to recognize, redefine, and collectively engage with the space that already existed, but never functioned properly. The project enabled the community to identify and actively engage beyond the everyday. The performance became a platform for reposi tioning the role and function of the public within their own urban conditions. The project activity temporarily appropriated the space as a reminder and, at the same time, a guarantee of the potential of space to become a collectively engaging social place where ongoing productive negotiations are able to emerge.
← P. 9 8 S U P E R S U I T I S T H E R E F O R E V E RYO N E
The Supersuit performance project allowed and invited individuals, families, and community members to take part in the performativity of the space. Their presence therefore had an impact on the space that left important traces. The process turned the disorganized existing space with its physical and v irtual, analogue and digital, real and imaginary, visual and verbal, spatial and societal, familiar and strange elements into an important strategy for offering better collective sense as a result of the performative potential of the space. In performing public spaces, it is always important to recognize the point that it is not only about the performer, or the space, or the idea in which the performance has been formed, but also how one engages with the specificity of the site and the people with whom one is dealing. The Supersuit project was also successful in this regard. The parti cipatory and interactive nature of the process productively engaged various people from various walks of life and social statuses. The Supersuit project also offered possibilities for local artists to activate themselves through the process, beyond participation. They also collaborated throughout the project activities. This was also a productive strategy for developing trust among the community members through maintaining their level of participation and engagement in performing the space. Beyond gaining trust from the local community, the Supersuit performance project had the power to illuminate the position of the audience by inspiring them to take part in the performative activities. All
these conceptual and physical machines that are generated by the Supersuit performance project made it possible to generate a critical impact that extends the understanding, role, function, expectation, and imagination of the community with respect to the ongoing urban condition and social realities in it. The ability to generate such productive forms of collective engagement in public space and to critically activate oneself in a different cultural and political landscape is not a privilege. Beyond being an artist, it requires the intention to engage somewhere else. It is a product of ongoing and open-ended negotiation skills that critically require solidified knowledge, experience, and the willingness and readiness to concern oneself with sharing, collaborating, and making a critical impact by means of existing collective realities. The Supersuit public space performance project in Addis Ababa was a successful engagement in which multiple levels of possibilities for knowledge production were offered and generated. From such multicultural and multidisciplinary creative engagements and collaborations in public space, the goal is to develop and exploit many critical and productive forms of experience, resources, and inspirations from different cultural, educational, professional, and other societal realities and urban conditions in any context.
1 Mika Hannula (writer, curator, critic and professor for artistic research at the fine, applied and performing arts at University of Gothenburg), Politics, Identity and Public Space: Critical reflections in and through the practices of contemporary art (Utrecht: Graduate School of Visual Art and Design, 2010), 116.
DISCUSSION OF THE PE RFO RMA NC E ON M E XICO SQUAR E I N A D D I S A BA BA
→ P. 101 O N T H E WAY TO M E X I C O S Q UA R E → → P. 101 ASSEMBLING SUPERSUIT
The following talk is the transcript of a reflection following the intervention with S upersuit on Mexico Square in Addis Ababa with the performer Daniel Aschwanden (DA) and the witnesses Adugna Chalchessa (AC), Conny Zenk (CZ), and Solweig Kieser (SK). DA: At first the suit, and maybe me along with it, became a spectacle in itself. And all the ideas I’d previously had such as offering space for selling or letting people make use of the suit didn’t work, at least not at the beginning. It took some time before the spectacle character began to fade, so that such elements could slowly emerge. But, at the beginning, I had the feeling I was more chasing people away than giving them an opportunity. But, still, in the longer run, some of them understood. Besides that, I thought it was really interesting that the awareness of space, of the change in space that took place as a result of the performance, attracted a lot of people, maybe with a question mark about what was going on. And it seemed that that motivated people, made them stay for quiet a while before communication started, with many people talking to and questioning each other or trying to respond to what was going on. I very much liked the moment when the first crowd dispersed and there was an in-between “normality,” during which people got used to the situation. 100
I didn’t fly, I didn’t perform strange magic tricks, or make people appear or disappear. At that point something slower started. Then, of course, when the police turned up, everything once again changed into the opposite. The police contributed to the spectacle character and underscored it again. And, of course, questions popped up such as: “Whose space is it?” and “What are the regulations of the administration that apply to controlling public space?” Regulations that we did violate, but could still get along with this cover-up letter from the art university. AC: Most of the people just wanted to understand what was going on. And there was an expectation that you would do something dramatic. But the really interesting part was when you communicated to people about what was going on. That made a space, c reated a space, which you then shared. There was reluctance. Some understood and said, “Oh yeah, ok.” Some really liked the idea once you told them about it. The idea of space, of simply saying, “Oh, this is a space that someone creates,” is really difficult to grasp. You have to say it in a way that people are able to understand. For example: “He’s creating some kind of a house or a space. Some said, “I don’t get it,” and, of course, some negative words also circulated. Most younger people are really attracted to
S U P E R S U I T A S A D I S PL AY F O R S T R E E T SELLERS AND A CURIOUS PUBLIC
the idea of sharing, and so they understood it. Older people of people without a good educational background were more pessimistic. CZ: I found it very interesting that some people said they got it and found it good because it supported the street sellers, provided a backdrop, and attracted people. Others said: But he’s not doing anything!” and “Why isn’t he moving?” A very old guy said: “Ok, and what’s that now?”—“It’s a piece of art,” I said, “It’s his artwork.”—“But, when does he start?” AC: People were waiting for something dramatic to happen. I tried to explain, but it was difficult for me. How can you explain space, this kind of shared space? Because the concept of space here is confusing. If I say, “Come, I want to share my space with you,” what does that mean? If you tell me, “Come, I want to share my house with you,” that’s very direct. But since the idea of space is very immaterial here, you don’t have that. SK: Is there a word for space in Amharic? AC: Not really. The idea of space, and what ever word we have for it, is basically different. DA: I think that maybe this word is only just appearing, as a result of the contemporary development of many people living in modern urban conditions. I understand it as a
situation in transition. People are l osing the open notion of space that seems to be informed by tradition, by the vastness of the landscape around here, which is not strictly limited by the grid of the urban. But I definitely come with a concept from the West, which somehow doesn’t find any correspondence here. AC: The structures that shape contemporary urban life are very new to us. Even in the urban life of people in the past, there was no notion of something you might call “my space.” It was your space anyway, mostly the cultural space that everyone was sharing. Now space is becoming more individualistic. And, of course, the idea of space became important to us in a particular way when the government started building these highrise condominiums. People were very reluctant to even move in, because they were used to having a wide space around them and not being disturbed by people coming into their houses, or into their compounds. But, with the condominiums, something has now changed. The idea of space, the idea of using space, and the idea of limiting yourself to something has changed. But how do you relate that to the European concept of space? DA: I’ve gotten this feeling of transition from many people here. Something that was commonly known is fading away, and the new 103
has not become established. There’s a kind of insecurity: How should the situation be understood? Where can I find orientation? SK: You sometimes see such traces in the condominiums. Some people there take their little charcoal ovens into the corridor in order to cook there. They don’t find space for their old traditions in the new buildings. AC: Exactly. Because they are a dhering to the idea of space that they had before. But this situation is different from how they’ve lived up to now. One of the problems is coffee. Because, when you prepare coffee, you have to grind it. SK: And cleaning and roasting it makes a lot of dirt! You should actually do it outside. I don’t understand how the architects didn’t think about such important issues when designing the condominiums. AC: So you get an idea of space, of how people are struggling to find a sense of space in the new way of life. But I’m not sure if we have a problem of sharing or rather over-sharing. SK: What is over-sharing? AC: Usually, even in the condominiums, you see that people are not able to confine themselves to the area given to them. So they always go outside, and don’t restrict themselves to what’s theirs. They aren’t used to that type of living. In E urope, once you get to your apartment, you close the door. But, here, you see people in 104
front of the door. So, when you go to the condominiums, there’s chaos outside. CZ: They don’t know whether it’s their flat or someone else’s. AC: Right. Remember when we were talking about individual space and public space. And sometimes there’s this non-space, a space that isn’t really owned by anyone, for example a construction site. You see such sites everywhere Addis Ababa. They’re not public, but no one owns them. They usually end up being a garbage site, a no-man’s land. SK: There’s a space between two lanes of a road, in the middle of them, that’s no-man’s land. People often go there to sleep. Nobody can move them. DA: The losers don’t have very much left, especially in a city like Addis Ababa, with its shrinking space for struggling and make a living. The image of public life in a modern city is absolutely clean: happy children, some green, and total control. In Austria, there are new laws against beggars these days. Even public benches are designed to prevent homeless people from using them to sleep. It’s a rather brutal situation for those who aren’t able to participate or be part of a successful economy.
T H E S PECTATO R S O N M E X I C O S Q UA R E A R E D I S PE R S E D BY T H E P O L I C E A N D T H E PE R F O R M A N C E C O M E S TO A N A B R U P T E N D D U E TO T H E P O L I C E D E PLOY M E N T.
SUPERSUIT & GOLD FIELD
The site of the Supersuit intervention was located on the opposite side of the old campus of the technical university in the city of Wuhan. Until just a few years ago, one could find an old village there, a place for s tudents to dine and entertain themselves. Now it has become a real estate project and its name has also been changed from “Xiong Jiazui” to “Gold Field.” The task of producing our own small space amidst of such a “concrete forest” provoked strong emotions and mixed feelings ranging from excitement to helplessness. (I studied there and have a lot of memories connected with the former village.) The action caused us
to engage in rethinking the city space and architectural forms. The big suit as a soft, mobile sculpture gave the space new life. I felt affirmed in my interest in how to make the city “softer,” not only its forms, but also its social relations. In the commercial area of “Gold Field,” some passersby laughed and stared at us, thinking it might be a commercial advertising action. After entering the university campus, the security personnel immediately stopped the action because they suspected that some patterns sewed on the suit had a religious meaning and were therefore something reactionary and forbidden.
PP. 10 6 – 9 S U P E R S U I T PE R F O R M S W I T H S T U D E N T S A N D T E AC H E R S AT T H E T EC H N I CA L U N I V E R S I T Y I N W U H A N I N A N E W LY D E V E LO PE D C I T Y D I S T R I CT CA L L E D G O L D FI E L D.
PE R F O R M A N C E D I A RY
B IOG R APHIES
Vertical Public Space was published on the occasion of a solo exhibition at The MAK— Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art Vienna—in 2011. In addition to the Schütte-Lihotzky Fellowship (1998) and the Schindler Fellowship (1999), Michael Wallraff has also received funding from the city of Vienna’s “departure” program (2009) as well as numerous competition prizes.
DA N I E L A S C H WA N D E N works as performer, choreographer, and curator in Vienna. “Where art meets the social” is a framework for his performative interventions in urban contexts and the hybrid formats of interventions that he has been realizing in public space in Europe, Asia, and Africa. He underlines aspects of transdisciplinarity, cultural exchange, and communication using a variety of art practices that utilize a wide range of formats ranging from installations and performances in public space, black boxes, and white cubes, to connecting social and art agendas. Since 2009, he has held positions as senior lecturer and guest professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in the Department of Art & Communication Practices and the Department of Social Design.
B E R H A N U A S H AG R I E D E R I B E W is a visual artist and assistant professor at the Alle School of Fine Arts and D esign at Addis Ababa University. He was the director of the school from 2012 to 2016. He graduated with BFA from the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design and with MA in Fine Arts from the Utrecht Graduate School of the Arts in the Netherlands. He has engaged critically with various individual and collective artistic projects both in- and outside studio environments. His creative, multidisciplinary outcomes have been presented in Ethiopia and throughout Europe. He is also active in organizing, participating in, and contributing to various international conferences, workshops, festivals, and biennials.
M I C H A E L WA L L R A F F is an architect. He studied scenery design and architecture in Vienna and Los Angeles. His Viennese office was established in 1999 and is active in various fields: from city planning and designs for new buildings, adaptations, additions, stages, exhibitions, and furniture, to objects of everyday culture. Michael Wallraff teaches architectural design at the Technical University Vienna and at the University of Innsbruck and is working on various research projects. His book 110
M A N O R A AU E R S P E R G is a textile artist and lives and works in Vienna. Her work as a lecturer (University of Applied Arts Vienna, Institute of Art Sciences and Art Education / Department of Textiles— Free, Applied, and Experimental Artistic Design) and her artistic research are closely intertwined. Her seminars and projects refer to the subject of the human body in relation to spatial and social contexts. She often works in an inter- and transdisciplinary manner and in various collaborations, questioning perception, ways of interacting, and the interiorizing of cultural patterns.
MU BO is a designer and urbanist. With his interest in working with and producing sustainable materials and forms he puts an emphasis on industrial ceramic design. As a graduate of the Institute of Social Design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, he focuses on problems that have arisen in connection with China’s rapid process of urbanization, in particular the demise of rural culture, and deals with how to incorporate and develop it within the process of constructing communities. He is currently back in China as a lecturer at Wuhan Institute of Technology.
BRIGIT TE FELDERER is a curator, cultural theorist, and head of the Department of Social D esign – Arts as Urban Innovation at the Univer sity of Applied Arts Vienna. Her projects focus on themes w ithin the field of cultural history, media history, and the history of science, and have been presented internationally. Recent projects include: Games of the City. Luck, Winnings and Pastime, Wien M useum, 2012 (w. E. Strouhal, M. Zollinger); Play & Prosume: Creeping commodity and fast avant-garde, Kunsthalle Wien Karlsplatz, 2013 (w. M. Jahrmann); A URBAN D, Shanghai Biennale, 2014; The Last Things in Life. An Exhibition about Death and M ourning 1765–2015, Hofburg Innsbruck, 2015.
ARNE HOFMANN As a trained architect, he operates at the interface between architecture and structural engineering. He is the managing d irector of the Vienna-based branch of Bollinger+Grohmann engineers. Examples of the work of the firm include the Hungerburgbahn NEU in Innsbruck, Austria
(Zaha Hadid Architects), the Sheik Zayed Desert Learning Center in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi (Chalabi Architects), and the DC Towers in Vienna, Austria (Dominique Perrault). One focus of his work is practical and academic engagement in connection with generatively designing spatial structures. He has also worked on various research proj ects at the University of Applied Arts V ienna. He lives and works in Vienna, Austria.
S O LW E I G K I E S E R is an architect and urban researcher who lives and works in Zurich, Merano, and Bolzano. She received her diploma from the Technical University Vienna in 2008 with a work on Hutongs (narrow streets and alleys) in Beijing and their role in the rapid process of urbanization, and worked in various architecture firms in Switzerland and Italy, among others for burkhalter sumi architekten in Zurich. As a visiting lecturer at the EiABC, Addis Ababa University, she was involved in the Gorebet social design project. She is currently planning a PhD research project on urban commons and integrated infrastructures.
CONNY ZENK is a video artist and performer in the field of visual music. She is particularly interested in visual live performance, the process of composing, improvising, and the link between body and (digital) space. In her works, she occupies herself with themes such as social media, migration, gender, and feminism within the context of urban architecture and the city. Projects, exhibitions, performances, and workshops are currently t aking place in Europe, China, and Africa.
CO LO PH O N
SUPERSUIT A project by Daniel Aschwanden and Michael Wallraff, 2014–17 Textile art: Manora Auersperg Projections: Conny Zenk Artistic consulting: Klaus Stattmann Structural consulting: B+G Ingenieure, Arne Hofmann, Robert Vierlinger Team member at Michael Wallraff’s office: Wolfgang Novotny Textile production: Rosa Falb Production of the metal structure: Wolfgang Prohaska
Editors: Daniel Aschwanden, Michael Wallraff
With special thanks to all the individuals who were involved in the performances and test structures, in particular Beata Kucharska and Anita Kaya: crossbreeds / Im_flieger Wolfgang Kapeller-N iederwieser: Science Fiction im Park Supported by: KÖR (art in the public space)
IMAG E CREDITS Daniel Aschwanden: 14 top, 18 bottom, 20 bottom, 25, 26, 28 top, 29, 32, 33, 37 top, 42 center and bottom, 43, 46 center right and bottom, 47, 48, 49, 80, 81, 92 top, 93, 94 top, center left, bottom, 98 top right, 106/107, 108, 109 Manora Auersperg: 14 bottom, 28 bottom, 30 Samuel Ekeh: 33 Yero Adugna Eticha: 94 center right, 95 getty images 2017 / Imagno (photograph: Christian Skrein 1968): 9 H. Hendrich, (c) VALIE EXPORT, Bildrecht Wien, 2017, Courtesy VALIE EXPORT: 10 Klaus Kern: 84, 86/87, 88, 89 Solweig Kieser: 92 center, 101 top, 102 top, bottom, 105 bottom right Christoph Lepka: 20 top Wolfgang Novotny: 60, 61 top Shelley Power Literary Agency Ltd 2017: 11 Walter Strasser: 82, 83 Michael Wallraff: 6, 12/13, 17, 18 top, 19, 21, 22, 23, 27, 31, 34/35, 36, 37 bottom, 38, 39, 40/41, 42 top, 44/45, 46 top, center left, 54/55, 56/57, 58, 59, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66/67, 68/69, 70/71 Conny Zenk: 72/73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 90/91, 92 bottom, 98 top left, 101 bottom, 102 center, 105 top, bottom left
Graphic Design: SCHIENERL D/AD Translation from German into English: Amy Klement Copyediting: Leina Gonzalez Project Management on behalf of the University of Applied Arts Vienna: Anja Seipenbusch-Hufschmid Project and Production Management on behalf of the Publisher: Angela Fössl Printing and Binding: Holzhausen Druck GmbH, Wolkersdorf, Austria Typeface: Aktiv Grotesk Paper: Munken Kristall, 120 / 150 / 300 gsm Cover images: Computer drawing of Supersuit 2.0 and detail of a performance Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data A CIP catalog record for this book has been a pplied for at the Library of Congress. Bibliographic information published by the German National Library The German National Library lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed b ibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de. This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved, w hether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifi c ally the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of i llustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in other ways, and storage in databases. For any kind of use, permission of the copyright owner must be obtained. © 2017 Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel P.O. Box 44, 4009 Basel, Switzerland Part of Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Printed on acid-free paper produced from chlorine-free pulp. TCF ∞ Printed in Austria ISSN 1866-248X ISBN 978-3-0356-1205-9 e-ISBN (PDF) 978-3-0356-1084-0 987654321 www.birkhauser.com