Viennese videos from the City of Vienna’s collection of contemporary art – MUSA

The collection of the City of Vienna Cultural Affairs Department includes a sizeable stock of videos and films produced between 1959 and the present. Selected works are loosely arranged and screened here.


CURRENT | Video | Self-Staging, 2001 | 4:07 min

Susanne Schuda

Susanne Schudab. Vienna, 1970, lives and works in Vienna

Self-Staging is a video and text collage in which Susanne Schuda slips into different roles that let her reflect on the premises of her own creative production from different angles. “Our own self becomes a collective possession; it is our greatest capital. Susanne Schuda embodies them all, politicians, lobbyists, athletes, starlets, Jesus, hostesses, mothers, children, and fathers…” the artist writes about herself.

ARCHIVE | Video | Blue Laguna Space Trip, 2008 | 6 min

Georg Frauenschuh

Georg Frauenschuh Blue Laguna Space Trip WebsiteEveryone in Vienna, and almost anyone who sets their mind on building their own house in Austria, will probably have heard of the Blue Laguna show home park The facility was built in 1992 near a shopping centre in Vösendorf, just south of Vienna, and is Europe’s largest exhibition park of prefabricated single-family homes. It comprises over 100 individual houses with front gardens, furniture, and all the details that make a house feel like a home, simulating a perfect world for consumers who are willing to forego the architectural credo of individualism in home design for a ready-made version of what others define as stylish and trendy.

Georg Frauenschuh shoots close-ups of this artificial world, meticulously scanning the surfaces of buildings, fences and paved driveways. His pan shots, rhythmic patterns of sharp, fast cuts, and cross-blending effects are accentuated by György Ligeti’s atonal ambient music soundtrack known from Stanley Kubrick’s movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The hypnotic mix of unconventional sounds and the abstract feel of the close-up images gradually draws us into the synthetic world of this immaculate but uninhabited residential estate. The concept of the perfect home, the pleasures of shopping promised by the advertising industry, the hopes and longings of people intending to build their own home: all this adds up to a somewhat eerie, surreal and – as the title suggests – trip-like experience, which is indeed reminiscent of a science fiction movie. 

Gunda Achleitner  

ARCHIVE | Video | Auspice 2010, 2010 | 3:32 min, loop

Barnabas Huber, sound: Bartosz Sikorski Barnabas Huber 2mal

A video loop of wild starlings flying free is screened on the lobby monitor to offer a counterpoint to the current MUSA installation, which shows videos of caged pet canaries. Barnabas Huber’s video “Auspice 2010” was shot near Roma Termini railway station in 2010, when the artist was in Rome for a study visit. The soundtrack was specially recorded for the video and adds an artistic aspect to the birds’ flight – a fantastic display of nature which has, however, become an everyday sight. In ancient Rome, augurs staked out the area for “taking the auspices”, i.e. telling the will of their gods from the flight of birds. Today the field of perception is defined by the artist’s camera and the screen. The monochrome blue sky is continuously structured, modified and rearranged by the organic movement of the birds. The video loop has a hypnotizing effect; without knowing the title, viewers might easily mistake it for an experiment with magnetic particles. The starlings’ wavelike movements are accompanied by a minimalistic soundtrack of crackling sounds recorded by the contrabassist and painter Bartosz Sikorski. The monotonous sounds break up the harmony of the visual impressions, allowing for entirely different associations with the phenomenon of migratory birds. The impressive sight makes us forget that, much to the dismay of the local population, the huge flocks of birds passing through Rome every winter descend on the city at dusk, causing massive contamination and traffic problems.

Gunda Achleitner




ARCHIVE | Videos | Homeland Security, I-V, 2003 | less than 2 min long each

Rainer Ganahl Homeland SecurityRainer Ganahl *1961 Bludenz (A), lives in New York
Courtesy of: Library of the University of Applied Arts Vienna


This video series represents a continuation of my language-based video works entitled “Basic Feelings” and “Basic Conflicts.” The principle is always the same: a given sentence is uttered by me in all eleven of the languages I have studied so far. In a situation comparable to that in a language lab, I repeat the same sentence in all these different languages, touching on humor, absurdity, and paranoia. With this new set of “homeland security” clips, filmed as police mug shots, I make reference to the newly created Department of Homeland Security, which is most likely to bring us some kind of a quasi-totalitarian Big Brother police apparatus. Our homes will be subject to digital data mining and endless profiling—in a phrase: “homeless security,” since it is becoming harder to feel our homes are actually home.
My “homeland security” sequences start with Arabic, a language I started learning only since 2001, and conclude with the more familiar ones. The sentences are simple and express a degree of paranoia: “I am not a terrorist” (1), “I am not a religious fanatic” (2), “I don’t give money to terrorist networks” (3), “I don’t know how to build bombs” (4), and “I am not downloading dangerous information from the Internet“ (5).
Rainer Ganahl, New York, 2003

ARCHIVE | Video, Sound | Mind Cinema. Das innere Kino, 1990 | 15:20 min (loop)

Zelko Wiener stills minde cinema 1990 2 c MUSAZelko Wiener, Music: Konrad Becker


The computer animation *Mind Cinema. Das innere Kino* created on the Amiga was installed at Ars Electronica in Linz in 1990 and is one of Zelko Wiener’s *opto-acoustic compositions*. Here for the first time he used large-screen projections, animating the entire space with pulsating computer sequences. Underlying the extremely rapid succession of geometric shapes and accompanying (techno) sound by Konrad Becker was the idea of stimulating subjective imaginations in the viewer. The concept was derived from the contemporary ‘Mind Machines’ scene and the assumption that certain mental states could be triggered through visual stimuli. Zelko Wiener was fascinated by the fact that an artistic work no longer needed any image content in the sense of image elements and that the main focus could be pulses of light and sound. As a result, the world that opened up to the viewer’s intellectual autonomy was not one that was preformed; rather, the viewer’s own feelings and sensations were now being triggered. With this work Zelko Wiener countered the all too exuberant and unfiltered glut of information, data and knowledge with a stringent concept of extreme minimisation.
Fina Esslinger & Ursula Hentschläger

ARCHIVE | Video, Sound | Der längste Kuss der Welt (“The World’s Longest Kiss”), 2014 | 4:31 min

Hubert-Sielecki 350Hubert Sielecki * 1946 in Rosenbach (Carinthia/Austria), lives in Vienna

Hubert Sielecki is an enormously versatile artist: he works as a photographer, screen writer and director, has become an authority in the field of animated movie production, a cameraman, musician, actor, illustrator and painter – all in one. While studying at the Vienna University of Applied Arts from 1968 to 1973 he was in the photography class of Eva Choung-Fux (under the supervision of Professor Franz Herberth). The two have been close friends ever since.
„Der längste Kuss der Welt währte dreissig Stunden, neunundfünzig Minuten und siebenundzwanzig Sekunden. Clara und Hannes, die einander erstmals am einundzwanzigsten November neunzehnhundertsechsundachtzig küssten, wollten diesen Weltrekord am Valentinstag, dem vierzehnten Februar, brechen. Der Weltrekordversuch wurde vom Apothekerverband organisiert, die Apothekerinnen und Apotheker wollten damit für bessere Mundhygiene werben (…)“
(„The world’s longest kiss lasted thirty hours, fifty nine minutes and twenty seven seconds. Clara und Hannes, who first kissed on the twenty first of November nineteen eighty six, wanted to break this record on the fourteenth of February, Valentine’s Day. The world record attempt was organised by the Professional Association of Pharmacists as an initiative to promote oral hygiene (…)“
The press report on the world record attempt inspired the Austrian writer and visual artist Gerhard Rühm to write a piece of sound poetry he performs live with his wife, Monika Lichtenfeld. The poem is based on the persistent repetition of words, or groups of words, having a strong alienation effect on the sound and meaning of the original text, and reducing the pseudo-scientific claim of the press report (referring to the Association of Pharmacists) to pure absurdity.
Sielecki takes the mutation to a visual level by impersonating eight hospital staff who recite the text in playback mode, emphasising it with slightly exaggerated gestures. The multiple voices have nothing in common with the two original speakers, Rühm and Lichtenfeld, and produce a highly abstract and confusing situation that finally turns comical thanks the hilariously serious graveness of Sielecki’s acting, which is strongly reminiscent of the legendary German comedian Karl Valentin.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | Video, Sound | Der kleine Flüchtling [The little refugee], 2003 | 13 min

khalifa streifen 350bErfan Khalifa *1964 in Damascus, lives in Damascus

In his art documentary film Der kleine Flüchtling [The little refugee] Erfan Khalifa explores a defining situation from his childhood in Tripoli, Libya. As a 10-year-old school pupil and the best in his class, he was bullied and teased by his classmates; during their quarrels, he was called all sorts of names: “refugee”, “coward”, “Palestinian dog”, and told to go home and liberate his country. Erfan’s father hat fled from Palestine with his parents at the age of 16. His mother had been no more than one year old when she became a refugee, Erfan himself was already born in Damascus.
In 2003, now studying at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Erfan Khalifa adopted a delicate yet emotional approach as he sought to work through his situation and, at the same time, that of many refugees who have no hope of ever being able to return to the land of their ancestors. Lying on the floor, naked and exposed, surrounded only by two rows of lightbulbs, Erfan tells his story and describes his situation, referencing the circumstances of refugees who are likewise stripped of all identity. The forfeiture of a person’s national status is synonymous with the more or less complete loss of individual autonomy. It is accompanied by a profound process of debasement and degradation.
The video is just an example for the highly current issue of refugees fleeing to Europe. Erfan Khalifa returned from Vienna to Damascus in 2005.
Michaela Nagl

ARCHIVE | Video | The Entry of Rococo into the Island Kingdom of the Huzzis, 1989 | 103 min

rokoko 1Andreas Karner *1960 in Vienna, lives in Vienna | Mara Mattuschka *1959 in Sofia, lives in Vienna | Hans-Werner Poschauko *1963 in Graz, lives in Vienna

Reverend M´Zimbe is an overassertive young man at odds with his mother, suburban prostitute Conny; he is caught between rebellion against her attempts to stifle his own sexual development, and eagerness to please her when she acts out her identity as a prostitute in stark contrast to her role as a mother. After Conny has an affair with Crown Prince Rudolph shortly before his suicide, her son travels to an island inhabited by a cannibalistic but otherwise harmless tribe known as the Huzzis, where he turns into a despotic tyrant to get the recognition and acceptance his mother denied him. Feigning worthy intentions to civilise the Huzzis, to eliminate their false religious beliefs and change their eating habits, the self-proclaimed Reverend exploits the tribe’s child-like innocence as he manipulates its members. Before the backdrop of a makeshift cardboard scenery, the artists tell a strikingly ironic and subtly humorous story of naive innocence confronted with an authoritarian mind hell-bent on hiding its own shortcomings amidst the passive endorsement and hypocritical outrage of the surrounding society.
“The Entry of Rococo into the Island Kingom of the Huzzis” reflects insecurity and helplessness in the face of social changes and all possible kinds of interpersonal relationships and reactions integration reactions into society’s global awareness.
Johannes Karel

ARCHIVE | DVD | Marija Mojca Pungerčar | Brotherhood and Unity, 2006 | 38 min
Pungercar Marija Mojca Brotherhood and Unity 2006 1 c-artist 350bA documentary video on “Brotherhood & Unity“ is shown in the MUSA foyer, including interviews the artist held with the workers to find out about the present-day relevance of ideals like brotherhood, unity, solidarity and community against the backdrop of rising Neoliberalism.
Gunda Achleitner
ARCHIVE | DVD, colour | Derek Roberts | Corners, 2006-2008 | 10:10 min

derk roberts_2Derek Roberts * 1978 in Birmingham, Alabama, lives in Vienna

Derek Roberts’ 10-minute debut video “Corners“ is a race through Vienna: both chased and accompanied by the beat of Indian Konnakol rhythms, the artist sprints past local sights, underground stops, shops, building sites, markets... always ending up somewhere in the outskirts of Vienna. He wears different costumes as he runs, jumps, crawls, rolls, stumbles, falls, and even drags melons or a discarded Christmas tree through the streets of Vienna. The sheer speed of his movements, combined with the music, fast cutting and rapid location changes leaves viewers virtually out of breath, though the people he passes in the video seem irritated rather than alarmed. In every scene Robers rounds at least one corner – be it horizontal, vertical or figurative. The video proves that there are different ways of exploring, using or moving through a city. Rogers often reveals the most interesting insights and outlooks by turning, dodging, running or looking around corners, rather than taking the most direct route. “Corners” is largely reminiscent of a slapstick performance, but its sudden end comes as a surprise and opens up a different level of interpretation, making the artist seem like a hunted animal or even a criminal on the run.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | DVD, colour |  Running Sushi, 2008 | 28:00 min

mattuschka haring 1Mara Mattuschka * 1959 in Sofia, lives in Vienna | Chris Haring * 1970 in Schattendorf (BG), lives in Vienna

Mara Mattuschka, a student of Maria Lassnig’s, counts among the leading filmmakers and performance artists in Austria. She is also known for her oil paintings, mostly self-portraits that show extreme close-ups of (naked) bodies in twisted positions. The artist uses the same close-up perspective in her short and experimental films. Since 2005 she has implemented film projects in cooperation with dancer and choreographer Chris Haring. How do we explain the distinct difference in our attitude towards the world inside and the world outside? And how come is it quite so distinct? SHE, the naked daughter of Eve, addresses this question to HIM, the naked son of Adam, over a dinner of running sushi in a comfortable setting. With every piece of raw fish passing by, the couple enters more deeply into the parallel world of their relationship problems, revealing a chaos of hidden feelings, secret thoughts and long-accumulated aggression. They end up fighting but never actually touch. In combination with cartoon-like audio effects, this creates a strong but slightly comic impression reminiscent of a martial arts or wild west movie.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | 16mm s/w-Video | Linda Christanell | Fingerfächer [Finger Fan] 1975/2009 | 10min

christanell 4Linda Christanell * born 1939 in Vienna, lives in Vienna

Linda Christanell counts among the members of the Austrian film avant-garde who address highly physical topics like sexuality, fetishes and the related taboos. This work was filmed in one day, spontaneously and without a script. Based on a central subject, a classic wedding photo with a smiling bride and uniformed groom, the artist arranges a variety of trivial decorative objects that are charged with new meaning as fetishes, alternating between seduction and the infliction of pain. The self-made fan (on the artist’s own hands) serves as a symbol of femininity and alludes to the female sex, as opposed to the drawing of a young man with longing in his eyes and a tiger by his side, which is as an overstated symbol of raw masculinity. It is not until the end of the film that Linda Christanell replaces the inside perspective of a room with the view out of the window, showing pigeons flying across the urban roofscape.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | ANIMATED FILM | Norbert Trummer | Film auf Fichtenholz 2004/2009 | 54 Sek

fichtenh fim 350bNorbert Trummer* born 1962 in Leibnitz/AUT, lives in Vienna

“Film auf Fichtenholz” (“Film on Spruce”) shows the artist’s view from his Vienna apartment in autumn 2003: people going for a walk, runners, a football pitch with players chasing the ball and spectators looking on. Using coloured pencils, Norbert Trummer transferred individual storyboard pictures onto primed spruce and subsequently took photos of the drawings. He then arranged the photos into a computer animated film. The result is a series of colourful, delightfully spontaneous and naïve images. The intense colours overplay reality, and though the images represent the artist’s subjective memories, they still strike us as strangely familiar. At second or third sight, the paintings reveal a variety of surprising details, such as an waste bin in bright orange colour, residential buildings, or the silhouette of Vienna’s landmark hills, Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | ANIMATED FILM | Norbert Trummer | Film auf Fichtenholz 2004/2009 | 54 sec

Veronika-Schubert Tintenkiller 350Veronika Schuberts Found-Footage-Animation „Tintenkiller“ schöpft aus dem reichen Fundus
von 40 Jahren „Tatort“, der wohl bekanntesten TV-Krimiserie im deutschsprachigen Raum. Allerdings interessiert sich Schubert nicht explizit für das Genre oder das Medium, sondern dafür, was beide zu unserer heutigen Bild- und Sprachkultur beitragen. „Tintenkiller“ ist eine Montage von visuellen und sprachlichen Floskeln aus der Fernsehserie, wobei statt Blut Tinte durch die Bilder sickert. Über 800 Einzelbilder hat die Künstlerin gestrickt und digital abfotografiert, dazu ca. 3000 Blätter gezeichnet und dann mit Tintenkiller partiell wieder gelöscht. Daraus ergibt sich eine Folge von Bildern und Leerstellen, von blauer Farbe, die zunächst sichtbar, dann unsichtbar gemacht wird. Die kühle Monochromie betont die emotionale Spannung der dargestellten Bildszenen.
Gunda Achleitner

ARCHIVE | VIDEO | Leopold Kessler | Privatized/Paris, 2003 | 3:18 min

Kessler-privatised 350bDevoting his attention to the small gaps that open up in the frequently overregulated systems of urban order, Leopold Kessler performs (usually unannounced) interventions that subtly alter familiar cityscapes. He sometimes even “camouflages” by wearing workmen’s overalls, and so his actions may appear to be performed at the behest of the public authorities and escape their attention for quite some time. Little wonder, given that the primary targets of his “attacks” are harmless street signs and streetlights, fountains and loudspeakers.
In Privatisiert/Paris (Privatized/Paris, 2003), he manipulates eight streetlights on Rue Louis Weiss, Paris, during the day so that he can turn them on and off with a remote control while taking a nocturnal stroll down the street. As more and more restrictive ordinance regimes control urban space by means of video surveillance, ostensibly improving public safety, Kessler creates humorous disruptions in the state’s power structure and at once lodges a claim of ownership of his own. Operating on the interface between private and public, the artist prompts us to keep testing the limits of personal responsibility and critically examine the prevailing conditions, especially also with a view to the question: “who owns the city?”
Gunda Achleitner



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