News from A future / Nachrichten einer Zukunft

Sound by Sebastian Six

Created for the exhibition 'Höhenrausch - Wie im Paradies' curated by Martin Sturm and Rainer Zendron

forOK Kultur Quartier, Linz, Austria, Summer 2021.

(Subtitles in English for those who need them)

I made this video for an exhibition at the OK Centre in Linz, Austria. It was shown on a video screen at the top of a wooden tower called the Keine Sorgen Turm, which was built on top of the OK art centre and provided an excellent view of the entire city panorama. Amusingly, and (I believe) unironically, 'Keine Sorgen' means no worries.

 

I created a photographic panorama of the city from this vantage point, which I used as the basis for the photoshop collage of an imaginary Linz from the year 2399, which you can see in this video. The video pans from left to right, narrated by Sorgen, a somewhat tragic, imaginary 'living building' from this time.

 

Some specific features of the city are referred to directly in the video: the first spot is the current home of Voestalpine, one of the key industries of Linz, steel. The train station and library are overlaid over the current, smaller train station and library. The Green Artery, or 'green corridor', is a genuine feature of Linz which really does help wind flow into the city. The giant, green structure that goes unmentioned towards the end of the video is a somewhat wild extrapolation of the current hospital. All of these features are ones that the denizens of Linz would easily recognise from the tower.

 

Part of the fun of comparing the video to the actual city is of course lost in sharing this work on youtube. This video is one of my first utopian experiments where I really dig into the idea of creating a description of a utopian place. I tried to deal directly with the problem of descriptions of non-places being pretty boring by adding a bit of spice to the life of the narrator, and with the addition of anthropomorphic unicorns (!).

 

There's a Peter F Hamilton book populated by lots of different wild genetic mixes, which inspired me to think about more broad types of 'people' existing in the future. And of course Donna Harraway's Cthuluscene mashed with Tolkein was the inspiration for thinking about luildings, hich I first developed for a short story that remains unfinished.

 

In the video I tried quite hard to paint a picture of a better place that wasn't perfect. Of course, there were lots more fragments of ideas that ended up on the cutting room floor because there simply wasn't time to fit them all in a way that was coherent and brief enough for an art exhibition. I think I am already stretching it a bit with 13 minutes, but it really is a very nice place to hang out, up in the air like that, so I hope people stick around to take in both at the same time.

 

The language used is German with patches that morph into Upper Austrian dialect. A wonderful dialect that its users tend to shy away from using in mediums that retain traces, like video. I didn't add subtitles for the lines that the unicorns speak, because some of them were a bit harder to translate quickly, and I felt like they weren't necessary for the main jist of the video. There are also some attempted word plays or confusions based on the Austrian dialect. For example, 'Es ist wurst' literally means, 'It's sausage,' but it also means, 'It doesn't matter', which seemed to fit nicely with the arial Würstelstand where this line is delivered.

 

Naturally, the bird with saddle is also sentient and enjoys giving people lifts. It should also speak, but it doesn't.