Josef Klammer / Albert Pall / Joachim Baur

MITTERLING



An audio drama machine for an imaginary railway station

 

The drawing of borders, their history, how they may be overcome and their porosity, or the willingness of neighbouring states to cooperate are highly topical issues. A real-world former connection severed by subsequent political border-drawing can be found between southern Styria and Slovenia: Spielfeld-Straß and Luttenberg (now Ljutomer) were once connected by a railway line. The first section, running to Radkersburg, was opened in 1885, with the section to Luttenberg taken into operation in 1890. At the end of the First World War, the southern part of Styria fell to Yugoslavia, thus causing the railway line to be divided at kilometre 32.5. After the end of the Second World War, the section between Radkersburg and Gornja Radgona was closed down on 17 April 1945 and later demolished. Goods trains still run on the Slovenian part today.

Understanding Styria as a bridge-builder between East and West and between North and South, the Mitterling project was situated in the place of the same name in the middle of the demolished section with the aim of engaging in an artistic examination of this missing link and the cultural connection between Styria and Slovenia. The idea for the project came about in cooperation with the Neue Radkersburger Bahn association, the Zollamt art project, and the municipalities of Bad Radkersburg and Gornja Radgona and was refined and carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria. In the form of an audio drama machine for an imaginary railway station, Josef Klammer, Albert Pall and Joachim Baur had devised an installation that argues in favour of closing the gap between the separate sections. Between two different international stop signals on the Austrian and Slovenian side, platform loudspeakers and platform lights were mounted on a post facing all four points of the compass. A circular path ran around the platform post alluding to the international symbol (a circle with a point in the middle) for centre, the site of a find, and a point of interest. Five voices could be heard, their words constantly and randomly creating new combinations: a female and a male voice speaking both in German and Slovene and a synthetic voice speaking in English in the style of announcements heard at railway stations. The words written by Albert Pall based on the “call and response” system were randomly shuffled as if in a card game to create an infinite audio drama in which male, female and synthetic voice engaged in a dialogue with each other. In terms of content, the text dealt with the possibility of an existing railway station. Sentence building blocks were used to address and initiate thoughts dealing with the railway station and its surroundings, movement, path, encounter, separation, dialogue, etc., touching both the mind and the body. The sound was developed by Josef Klammer together with students from the BORG Radkersburg school. 4 x 128 Klangfragmente also involved randomly retrieving possible sounds for a railway station. The music and the sound were thus generated directly on site.

A fixed location, the railway station traditionally symbolises transit, and is at the same time a non-place, that is to say, a utopia. Chance meetings and separations occur here, it stands for departure, arrival, uncertainty and hope. As a realisation of the idea of such a place, the Mitterling project not only hints at the real historical connection and a possible future connection. Conceived by Joachim Baur as an idea and, at the same time, as a building site environment and also as an ephemeral and concrete space, we were invited here to engage with poetically generated visual and acoustic impulses and compilations. In addition to memories of or associations with departures, dreams or dangers, in the immediate presence we experienced possibilities of expanding our own consciousness and thinking.

Elisabeth Fiedler

Art in Public Spaces

Marienplatz 1/1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9265
kioer@museum-joanneum.at

 

  

Radiosendung MITTERLING: ORF / Ö1 / Kunstradio, 25.10.2015, 23.03–24 Uhr

 

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