November 11, 2004
A Journey in Search of (post)modern Utopia
Utopia Travel is a collaborative project by Austrian Artists David Rych and Emanuel Danesch. The basis of the project is the transport of a video collection from Cairo to Vienna, following the transition from the upper part of the African continent over the Middle East towards Europe. An Egyptian taxi equipped with a video monitor served as a mobile unit distributing the contents of the video-archive on the distances between the capitol cities of the respective countries.
The title of the project was taken from the name of a travel agency in Cairo, which befittingly alluded to the ironic circumstance that tourism offers a temporary utopia of exoticism in various directions, whilst discovering no more than just a transmitted fragment of another culture. The archive contains pre-selected video material produced by artists/ film directors originating from and in most cases living in one of the countries on the route.
Every single videotape is labelled with the name of the author and title of the work. The only indication marking region on the label, is a colour code, created by melting the colours of every national flag into one. Since in certain regions (like the states of former Yugoslavia) the colours of neighbouring nations remain quite similar, differences are visible only in very subtle nuances; this makes people guess the precise origin of a work, even if the basic region was quite obvious. The method of presentation provided the opportunity to touch on a variety of issues, from the complexity of individual societies to the construction of political territories. In that sense the project is understood to be a temporary, non-institutional platform focusing on the translation and transmissibility of local cultural codes as different aspects of interrelated history.
The Archive was shown in the taxi as a mobile video installation on a three and a half months long tour through the cities Cairo, Beirut, Istanbul, Sofia, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Graz and Vienna. The presentations took place to a large extent in public space, while also docking to different institutions for art and culture.
Posted by jo at November 11, 2004 10:04 AM