Mai – May

On the evening of May 10th, a group of several people read texts in several places in the neighborhood of  “Ewigkeitsgasse”, where Frederic Morton comes from. The event, to commemorate the 10th of May 1933, when tons of books were burned in public by members of the Nazi Party, was organized by Alfred Woschitz and Roman Lechner from “Art Net Hernals” (Hernals being the 17th district of Vienna). The evening ended at Frederic Morton’s former home with my performance of Ruth Schonthal’s, “Self portrait of the artist as an older woman”, in which she looks back at her life in a passionate and yet tender way.

Looking up “Art Net Hernals” on the internet, I learned about an installation which had been set up at “Elterleinplatz”.

Two days later I went there with my camera. The installation (next to a May pole) reminded me of an old Folk Dance I knew from my childhood. A group of people each held in his hand one colored band which was tied to the head of a big pole, all these bands coming together at the top of the pole. Then the music sets in. Not fast, rather relaxed actually, just right for walking. Then people start to move around the pole in certain patterns, this way creating a colorful pattern around the pole, like knitting somehow. This of course only works if everybody sticks to how the dance should be done.
There are two ways to look at this kind of dance:

Creating something together makes everyone in the group feel proud, which of course, only works if everyone follows a certain pattern, and results in joy and pride for what has been achieved by the group.
Each person has to give up their individuality and is forced into following a certain pattern whether he likes it or not.  You’re told, “Just follow the plan and everything will come out as we want.  You can forget your ideas, in fact you’d better forget your own ideas. Again, no need to think.”

As a child I chafed against the second way of looking at it, kept my own ideas about which way to go which stopped the entire system.


Der Mai- Tanz und der 10. Mai
Gleichklang, gleicher Schritt. Bunte Baender und nur ja nicht aus der Rolle fallen. Sonst ruiniert man nur das Ganze. Schliesslich soll es ja ein schönes Muster werden – ist ja der Sinn des Tanzes. Ein Band in der Hand, bunt. Und wenn alle einem Muster folgen, dann funktioniert es. Die Baender sind  am Maibaum befestigt, entweder man spurt oder man laesst es eben bleiben. Dann machen halt die anderen das Schöne.

Lesungen im 17. Bezirk  und Ruth Schonthal’s “Self Portrait of the Artist as an Older Woman” als musikalischer Abschluss in der “Ewigkeitsgasse”, der ehemaligen Heimat von Frederic Morton, anlässlich der Bücherverbrennung am 10. Mai
1933 durch die Nationalsozialisten. Organisiert von Alfred Woschitz und Roman Lechner ( Kulturnetz Hernals )

ART in Hernals, the 17th district of Vienna – Installation am Elterleinplatz

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