POLITICS OF FEAR - LINZ

POLITICS OF FEAR - LINZ

YEAR: 2016
LOCATION: Herbert-Bayer-Platz, Linz, AUSTRIA
In collaboration with Architekturforum Oberösterreich and OÖ Gesellschaft für Kulturpolitik
DATE: 09/2016

DESCRIPTION

Fear Chamber

By changing the identity of the square, PoF decided to provoke a reaction by making use of people’s inhibitions about foreign cultures.
The concept was to project an exaggerated vision of the future, by installing an object that symbolically suggested an Islamic presence in the square. We wanted to be careful not to appropriate any religious artefacts or elements that might cause an offence, yet the course of conceptual development resulted in a design for an appropriation of the Kaaba cube in Mecca.

For this intervention at the end of September 2016, PoF designed and built a 4x4m cube structure that enclosed the central tree of the square.
To heighten the Islamic metaphor, we recorded a piece of original music that resembled the Muezzin call to prayer in auditory style, yet with the lyrics “fürchte dich nicht” (German for: No need to be afraid).
By using a megaphone to project the music, the song resounded through the neighbouring streets and attracted a significant amount of attention from residents and daily users of the public square.
In order to make the space more approachable, approximately 300 miniature black cubes were placed around the main structure. This created a buffer zone between the public square’s perimeter and the center. People were able to walk across the open space, yet still be captured by the installation.
The interior of the cube was set-up with carpets, floor cushions and benches, so to create a relaxed atmosphere for discussion, in contrast to the provocative exterior. Members of POF were present inside, and were there to facilitate a discussion revolving around the display of fears collected from the previous action in Vienna.
To emphasize the role that the media plays in fear construction, the template of the newspaper alludes to one of Austrian’s most known tabloid newspapers.

Over the course of two days in Linz, the mounting collection of fears meant that more and more discussions were opening a fresh and current dialogue on the notions of fear in public space. As such, new points of contact could be founded, and new points of departure of the project were established.

More information

We chose to re-write a selection of fears as newspaper headlines and post them on the interior walls of the cube in order to continue the production from the previous action, and to initiate the process for the current one.

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© 2020 Ruth Mateus-Berr