Oliver Hangl

Kino im Kopf spezial, Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott, 2014


(Andreas Prochaska, 2010, Austrian Film Prize 2011: best film, best script)


What is real? What reality really exists? What representation of reality can we trust?

When questions such as these are inscribed in a setting somewhere between film, drama and performance in public life, and thus in public space, and when the latter becomes a stage before which the audience lack the accustomed familiarity of local entrenchment, confounding and obfuscating elementary perceptions such as seeing and hearing, we find ourselves in a setting created by Oliver Hangl.


Creating illusions, an alternative reality or a second level of perception, while at the same time destroying and dis-illusioning phantasmagorias is a mechanism which pans out in the realm between technological achievements and all the fears which they entail, the inhuman speed of the steam train, the deception of the eye by the film camera or the uncanniness of the non-simultaneity of location and action caused by the telephone and science fiction visions such as teleportation, matrix shifts or the fusion of the past and future.


A cinema film is per se constructed reality. If the film, as is the case here, is screened in the city in which it was shot, the local audience will perceive it as a second skin or map placed over their experience.


Our is a means of public transport, a tram. It deviates from the accustomed route as much as from the enclosed stage area. We hear Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott, a fast-paced slapstick comedy, through headphones in the form of a radio film adapted by the artist for blind people.Instead of giving ourselves over to the sensation of hearing alone, this awakens many different senses. The contradictoriness of a film which we cannot see, but hear, is not cancelled out, but spreads out even further. Fiction and reality fold into one, experience fuses with curiosity and imagination, representation and perception clash.


As a result, the inner images of the audience mingle with those of the outside world, specific reality with public reality, thus challenging recollection and memory and a reconstruction of reality. We experience a fusion of the performance and the real world, between the actors and the audience are those who know nothing of a staged production and who may, at the same time, become unasked extras, actors or disruptive factors.


Where the aim in the early days of cinema was to inscribe and reproduce images of reality on the screen, while today the masses try to re-enact film scenes in real life so as to bring them to life, Oliver Hangl befogs this situation with his deception in a highly amusing manner.


Dr. Elisabeth Fiedler, Head of Institute Art in Public Space Styria



Oliver Hangl born 1968 in Grieskirchen (Upper Austria), lives and works in Vienna.


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