Paint it black until it is sober.
Michaela M. Tanzer & Rebekka A. Hochreiter
intervention in room / performative black painting / stop-motion
Four blocks of fats stud on the end of a street in the South of Linz in Austria; In between the industrial scape of an steel producing large concern and right on the water´s edge of a river abounding with crayfish. In this area there had been an outbuilding of the concentration camp Mauthausen, later on those blocks where built and in use for working class accommodations and also apprentices` hostel. The buildings are charged with an unacquainted and blinded out topic of the town. The streets name is Lunzerstraße - and the word can be used as synonym for constructed and ghettoized living places. Hardly one person really chose to be there. The 12,75 m2 small sleeping rooms else where accommodation units for people applying for asylum in Austria. Two or even four persons shared one room. Up to 600 refugees, escaped out of warring countries in Near and Middle East, parts of Africa, from Bosnia and Afghanistan, slept and ate there.
After this chapter the buildings stood empty for some time. In winter semester 2013 students studying Experimental Design at Art University Linz had the chance to create artistic projects in the front building of them. February 2014 they have been erased with caterpillars bit by bit, and with the disappearing scraps they also start to get forgotten in peoples minds. The surfaces of the walls, ceilings and floors are spectators of time and tracks of the past. When entering such foreign places we associate a lot and try to think ourselves into other humans thoughts took place before. We try to read those rooms.
Pictures, which penetrated the retinas former inhabitants, noises which have been embed in their heads, or the smells – we can imagine them. But we never know. „Memory fades“ - But isn´t it more like getting darker, when something starts to fall in oblivion. Black matter instead of colourful.
How was it to live in one of those rooms? Which pictures, sounds and smells remain?
When we come home late, we wash away the tracks of the day. We take a shower or wash our hands to let the Outside out. We take care about our intimacy.
In the washing rooms on each floor of the block of fats in this bewritten place, it was not possible to feel intimacy at all. Because the rooms had to be shared with others any time and the spaces for brushing teeth, washing the face or pulling out dirt from under the fingernails have not been constructed for individuals. Functional and almost panoptic they have been. When there never is given the possibility to escape from public, - to clean yourself from what have happened Outside, - there is never a moment of inner silence. To be able to depart private and public live is so meaningful to free ourselves from roles which we suit on, when leaving the house in the morning. To can be „private human“ is significant and relaxing.
The emotional charge of people washed their hands, combed their hair or pulled out the dirt under their fingernails must have been immense, because they never did this alone – for themselves.
So therefore we paint the white tiles black, to make density and volume of this loading visible.