August 11, 2007
The image above is from an Austrian artist named Lois Hechenblaikner who shoots the "iconography of mass tourism". This series is part of an exhibition of 21 Austrian artists titled '21 Positions' at the Austrian Cultural Forum here in NY (pdf catalog of the exhibit). It's a nice lineup of artists most of whom were new to me...
As an aside, and I know this is completely unfair, but when I heard about an exhibition of Austrian artists my head instantly went to that scene in the film Before Sunrise where the two characters meet a pair of non-professional actors on a bridge:
(They approach two men who are looking over the bridge at the water below.) Jesse: Excuse me, excuse me uh, sprechen sie English? (Do you speak English?)
Man with jacket: Ja, of course.
Man with tie: Couldn't you speak German for a change?
Man with tie: No, it was a joke.
Jesse: Well, listen, we just got into Vienna today, and we're looking for something fun to do.
Céline: Like museums, exhibitions, things...
Man with tie: But museums are not that funny any more these days, uh...
Man with jacket: Uh, (looking at watch) but they are closing right now. How long are you going to be here?
Jesse: Just for tonight.
Man with tie: Why did you come to Vienna? What, uh, what could you be expecting?
Jesse: (Perplexed.) Uh...
Céline: We're on honeymoon.
Jesse: Yeah, she got pregnant, we had to get married, you know.
Man with tie: (Points at Jesse.) You know I don't believe you, you're a bad liar.
(The two men exchange some words in German.)
Man with tie: Ja.
Man with jacket: See here. (Pulls paper out of pocket.)
Man with tie: This is a play we're both in, and we would like to invite you.
Céline: You're actors?
Man with tie: No, not professional actors uh, part-time actors, for fun.
Man with jacket: It's a play about a cow, and an Indian searching for it. There are also in it politicians, Mexicans...
Man with tie: Russians, Communists…
Man with jacket: Russians.
Jesse: So, you have a real cow on stage.
Man with tie: No, not a real cow. It‘s an actor in a cow costume.
Man with jacket: (Gesturing.) And he's the cow.
Man with tie: Yes, I am the cow. And the cow is a bit weird.
Man with jacket: The cow has a disease.
Man with tie: She's acting a bit strange, like a dog. If someone throws a stick, she fetches it, and brings it back. And she can smoke, with her hooves (motions with his hand, as if smoking with cow’s hooves), and everything.
Man with jacket: And as you see, there is the address. It‘s in the 2nd District.
Man with tie: Near the Prater. You know the Prater?
Céline: Oh, the big Ferris wheel?
Man with tie: By the wheel, yes.
Céline: Oh, we should go.
Man with tie: Yes, the wheel, everybody knows the wheel.
Man with jacket: Perhaps you can go to the Prater before the play. It starts at twenty-one-thirty.
Jesse: Twenty-one thirty?
Man with tie: That's nine-thirty.
Jesse: Nine-thirty? Oh, right, right. Okay, great, well, what's the name of this play?
Man with tie: Uh...
Man with jacket: It translates as, "Bring Me The Horns...(together with other man) of Wilmington's Cow."
Man with tie: Ja, I am Wilmington's cow.
Jesse: We'll try to be there.
Man with tie: You'll be there?
Jesse: We'll try.
Man with tie: I am the cow.
Jesse: You're the cow.
Man with tie: Goodbye.