At a time when social media tempt us to keep diaries disclosed on a global scale, the question arises anew: how to share the intimate quotidian life that unpredictably unfolds day by day? How to find our way into the landscape of days (Gegend der Tage)? At the same time, we experience tough and strange days in which all our relationships to our diverse environments (Umwelten) change, and must change. We are already used to calling this change ‘climate change’. But have we yet understood what it really means, and what follows from it? This equally intimate and experimental project Passenger Diaries is a testing ground for a journey into another life in the close neighbourhood that is as personal as it is oriented towards the environment, urban and suburban spaces. To enter this close range is itself the passage we seek and attempt.
The Passenger was first inspired by Iggy Pop’s mythical song. The Passenger has transformed though. No longer a single, sexy, male beast roaming the inner city of the great American Metropolis of the 20th century, “The Passenger” has evolved. Today they are a a multitude, a cloud, a swarm of various genders and life forms, human, non-human, post-human, organic and inorganic, slipping through spaces, always on the non-linear move.
As they feed on patterns and multi-sensory information, they do not need the kind of “excitement” the heroe of the 20th century was so obsessed with. They can find joy and adventure in the apparent boredom and banality of the urban “Speckgürtel” (commuter belt), crossing and re-crossing thresholds of grown and built environments, following the traces of trash, honouring the corporate design of Otto Wagners “Green”, or meeting a plastic bottle suddenly emerging as an individual by the fate of her temporary disposal.Read More
“The Passenger” are the fictitious host of all those “micro-trips”, sub-urban adventures at the outskirts and in the condensed intermediary zones (Karlsplatz) of Vienna and the collective author of all the documents produced by them.
Documents that range from immediate imprints such as “frottage” graphics to photos, short video clips, edited slide shows to audio documents of both verbal language and sound.
All those documents make up a partly chronological, partly non-linear diary that is the core of this blog.
Finally, in five Salons de Passages (four in Vienna and one in Bratislava) social situations were created for sharing and exchanging around the micro-trips and their documents, to enable the primal obsessed and their guests to go on yet another trip.
Hosted by various sub-departments of the “Angewandte” (ZFF in Rustenschacher Allee, the APL and the AIL in the in 2021freshly adapted PSK) we could shape each Salon according to the needs of one host and one stage of the process.
The very hot Salon 01 in June 2021 (hosted by KT Zakravsky in Rustenschacher Allee) featured slide shows, a witty video interview with Elke Krasny on the many urban meanings of the “passenger”, the live performance of a noise version of Iggy Pop’s The Passenger and for the first time the green arm that grew on Lucie Strecker – a limb forming a passage from Otto Wagner’s still relevant urban designs to the new desire for more green life in the city.
Salon 02, hosted by Mariella Greil in October 2021, provided a series of lectures and presentations in a warm cave of colours, featuring bodies of water and the subterranean flows of the hydrocommons, the muddy poetics of soil analysis, the tiny ear bones of the sturgeon, some digressive thoughts by Kira O’Reilly and for the first time the monumental opera of Radek Hewelts photographs of figures transformed by long exposure at the magical site of “Wolf in der Au” with a live sound performance by Werner Moebius.
Salon 03 in May 2022 was an elegant affair with a colourful installation of carpets, fruits and flowers by Lucie Strecker and her team, featuring a highly informative lecture on Otto Wagner who never wanted his designs to be green and the dangers of “green washing” explained by the passionate “green hunter” Jens Hauser, while Thomas Feuerstein raves on his marriage with a plant.
Salon 04 happened as an intimate trip to the city of Bratislava, so close to Vienna and yet another world. A walk along the Danube’s bank showed us both the familiary and the strangeness.
The Salons were completed by workshops where “The Passenger” tought us the art of dowsing to sense the subterranean streams of the city, to celebrate the staircase of the PSK through overtones singing and to go on a photo hunt after all organic, toxic and pretty hues of Green.
This wealth of experience and sensation, condensed in various documents to be found here, might have satisfied the “The Passenger’s” mighty appetite.
Consider “The Passenger” as a “heuristic avatar” taking hold of individual humans to make them receptive for a new kind of fluid subjectivity that will be able, willing and gifted to pass through the passage of the city as we knew it to a different state that will be the outcome of the profound change we just now learn to call the “climate change”. Not quite knowing, in the human minds we used to have, what it might mean.
The Passenger might help us to spell it out.