Fortress Real Life

Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria


14m x 14m x 6m



click images for enlargements

This massive project is framed with a similar premis to the wall in Leipzig, with a series of banners hanging in the ground floor space of the Kunsthus entreating the visitor to suspend any political, religious, or national affiliation. IN DREAMS BEGIN RESPONSIBILITY - NOAHíS ARK- TRADE IN KIND - GEOGRAPHY IS ABOLISHED etc etc.

Thus unencumbered the visitor was invited to ascend the grand staircase where they could then choose to enter the left side, where one could walk aroung the parapet observing the crowd below and then descend the curved staircase into the heart of the Fortress. Once in this wooden heart, more like a ship than a building, one was invited to Mal was du denkst - literally paint what you think on one of hundreds of blank placards provided. At the end of each day the placards were taken up and displayed on the ramparts of the fort. If the visitor chose to go to the right they came across a little amphitheatre, like a medieval theatre where one could choose from a variety of simple musical instruments and play, alone or in dialogue, with other visitors. This could be a composition of new music to act as an anthem for this new place, this non place, this building within a building - new music for this other place or simple an empowering creative act. Of course it is significant that this work was realised in Austria where a minor cultural boycott was in place after the Haider/Freedom Party debacle and the visible rise of the right. I wanted the people of Austria to come to the Fortress and to have their say, un-mediated, un-censored and on display in Kunsthaus Bregenz, one of the most incredible new cultural buildings in Europe.

This Fortress Real Life functioned as a kind of Noahís Ark, a hiatus before moving on to the the next phase, the new community wherever that may be. It was uncertain when inside the fort whether one was defending against the building itself of the given infrastructure of our society. In this incredible Kunsthausbuilding where there is virtually no wood at all these 400 trees from the forest, 6m high and 30cm in diameter made quite a contrast, quite a challenge to the evident conceits of modernism