TYPE: submission for the Viennese Chamber of Labor
LOCATION: online / for Chamber of Labor, Prinz-Eugen-Straße 20-22 1040 Vienna
DATE: Ocotber 2021
The commemorative sign/sculpture "DAS UNENDLICH" / THE INFINITE represents an 'infinite staircase', an optical illusion. Optical illusions are especially popular with viewers because they present them with a world outside of physical laws, attract attention and stimulate thought.
In addition, the object, which, depending on the perspective, appears as a red wedge, symbolically sets a mark. Hereby, due to the irritation, different groups of people are addressed and interest is aroused to learn more about the meaning and thus about the history of the location.
Here, where today the building of the Chamber of Labor is located, once stood the Palais Rothschild, which was seized by the National Socialists to become the "Central Office for Jewish Emigration".
Here the robbery (as taxation of property and expropriation), expulsion and extermination of the Jewish population took its bureaucratic starting point.
Symbolization of 2 aspects:
1) The memorial sign DAS UNENDLICH stands for the helpless being at the mercy and being sent in circles of the Jewish population by an inhuman bureaucracy.
2) DAS UNENDLICH also stands for the obligation to continue the stony path of remembrance in the sense of never forgetting the Austrian labor movement in memory of the victims. In addition, the object, which, depending on the perspective, appears as a red wedge, symbolically sets a mark. Hereby, due to the irritation, different groups of people are addressed and interest is aroused to learn more about the meaning and thus about the history of the site.
This idea is inspired by the 'infinite staircase' of the Nobel Prize winner Roger Penrose and the lithograph 'infinite ascent and descent' of the artist M.C. Escher, who dealt with geometrically impossible figures and was also an enemy of the Italian fascists and National Socialists. Max Bill depicted another form of the infinite stairs as 'hope' and contemporary Olafur Eliasson, for example, recently took up the endless staircase again differentially as a 'paraphrase'.
A wreath can be laid at the stele for commemorative ceremonies. Victims and their descendants can place memorial pebbles on a narrow surrounding stone bed with a stone border or steps can be laid (Jewish memorial custom).
The red coated steel symbolizes the blood, the tears of the victims, the persecuted and the fighters against fascism and the socialdemocratic labor movement (draft 1).
Weathered steel forms a thin layer of rust that changes from an initial orange to a reddish-brown color over time as it alternates between wet and dry. The rusting process is greatly slowed by the copper content in the alloy. This grade of steel therefore requires no preservation, and no coating. The decades-long durability of weather-resistant steel has been proven by numerous buildings (draft 2).