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Seth Weiner

Vaporous Evening Dresses

Spring 2018

A past made for art. A present art made from the past.
Palais des Beaux Arts. Vienna./p> —
Vaporous Evening Dresses in continent 7.1<


continent 7.1/2018

The Palais des Beaux Arts Wien published a special issue with the para-academic online journal continent. with contributions by Erik Born, Lia Carreira, Fabian Faltin, Geraldine Juárez, Franziska Huemer-Fistelberger, Steve Lyons & Jason Jones, Rosemary Lee, Manuel Minch, Armin Medosch, Jamie Allen, Eva-Maria Mandl and Seth Weiner. The issue was edited by former Very Artistic Director Bernhard Garnicnig with Maximilian Thoman as co-editor and additional editing and translation by Nadežda Kinsky Müngersdorff.

Simone Borghi


Saved±Sounds is a composition based on an audio archive, made by Simone Borghi for the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien, of the performances of the viennese festival Unsafe+Sounds 2016. It is not a presentation of recordings as such, but rather a distorted, yet authentic, recollection of what happened. Somehow like fixing some memories while modifying them at the same time. You’ll maybe recognize what you heard last year, or maybe not. It is the music from last year and not. The recordings were made by "a spectator" carrying two small microphones in his ears (binaural audio technique), while standing in the audience or moving around. Each track was composed by using parts of the recordings of one specific night, without the addition of extra sounds. Saved±Sounds is available for download on

Podcast Archive


BIM is the performance podcast series at the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien. Sessions with artists from anywhere in the world are recorded with a special technique at the street corner in front of the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien. This are binaural recording, headphones recommended for listening.

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by Jamie Allen

I am writing these words in an airport, and into a text file, because I’m having trouble getting online. Due to quite a few misaligned techno-bureaucratic constellations, I cannot connect to the internet.

Is the internet a place? If it is, its more like an airport than an apartment. More like a library than a study. More like a brothel than a bed. When wireless internet was all slick and shiny and new, a lot of us were pretty excited about its potential as a kind of lubrication, or glue, for neighborhoods and communities, parks and protests. Neighborhood nodes and free-WiFi in the park were these new kinds of idyllic place-networks — parties online you could bring your body to, and all your friends (online and off). There are different kinds of glue, of course, and Facebook seems a rather thin and runny one. “Going” to a FB “event” has become more a statement of support than a statement of intention to create place, encounters or moments together (online or off). But there are still ways of making these non-places special. There are secrets we can share with one another, dark corners where we can escape the onslaught “likes” and upworthiness.

Quite a while ago now, computer programmer Richard Stallman re-inserted into the lexicon of the cultural and technological imaginary a distinction about freedom, or free-ness. In discussions about technological development, people talk about ‘free as in speech’ versus ‘free as in beer’. That is, “with zero restrictions” or “for zero monetary cost.” These phrases evoke the important differences between market-exchange value, and the more inherent, presumably more important, value of ideas. In our world, sometimes things are free in both ways, sometimes in only one, and perhaps most often in neither. The Internet, for a while, seemed like it was on its way to being free as in speech and free as in beer, marginally at least (You still need a computer and all that, sure). But mostly that’s not really working out.

Meanwhile, I am still having trouble staying connected to the internet. I’ve missed my flight, my wallet and phone were stolen a couple of days ago, my credit cards resultantly cancelled and useless. I have no ID with me where I am. I have no idea where I am. I have no ideas where I am. It’s an airport. Wasting the change in my pocket on the seven-euro coffee-as-entry-fee to Starbucks seems like a bad move, in case I need bus fare into the city if I can’t get the next flight out. What I need is data, connectivity. Do I curse our technological condition, wanting for a world where another person’s direct sympathy would somehow get me on a plane, or into a hotel? No. It’s in situations like this in fact, that I wish the World was more like the Internet, not the other way around. Where things are excessively generous and alive with ideas, brimming with a pubescent concern for other people oftentimes so creatively wholehearted that it mutates into innuendo, abuse, flaming and bullying.

Sitting on the floor, nestled beneath a warm radiofrequency canopy Tegel Airport Starbucks WiFi (the only ‘free as in beer’ WiFi in the entire airport), I realise that the staff is starting to shut down the coffee machines. Soon, they will shut off the co-branded T-Mobile router that is my artery to resources, my access to a place to sleep tonight, my route home. ‘Free as in beer’ only works as long as you order before last call. One more packet, barkeep…? You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here…

Art is a particular kind of techno-idealism. It is the arrangement of materials and ideas, or one of these packed inside the other, and it is purported to deliver all kinds of freedoms: Freedom of expression, freedom of the individual, creative freedom, freedom from history. Art, most of the time, isn’t ‘free as in beer’, although we like to think of it as ‘free as in speech.’ Art on the Internet, perhaps more so than in a lot of other ways we might experience ideas, at times pushes into places that seem to sketch out new kinds of ‘free.’ There are worlds represented, and constraints we’re unaware of, new kinds of gifts and economies sketched out for art and communication, creative acts, the technological.

There are people who, when they realise the many systems, services and networks they rely on everyday, recoil from them. This is part of what being ‘free’ means to us — being autonomous, being alone. Our technological collusions, our bonds with machines, are to be contained, controlled. Is it ok, though, to love a dependency, instead of trying to cut it out or away? It is possible, freely, to love how it is to need something, or love that thing so much it seems entirely outside of the need for justification. It is also possible to love (even technological) necessity, reliance and vulnerability. I love being addicted to food, and air, and water. And I love being online. Yes, I like parks and trees and squirrels and all that just as much as the next person, but I also love the Internet. And so do you, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now.

And that’s ok.

What would a place be like that is both ‘free as in Art’ and ‘free as in Internet’?

Welcome to the Palais des Beaux Arts.

Editor’s note: Jamie Allens next morning return flight out of Berlin was funded through the Palais des Beaux Arts commissioning program for in-situ critical writing.

Peter Moosgaard:
Bauhaus Ayoke


If you could only bring a single book to a secret island, which one would it be? On a residency in the south-east asian archipelago, Peter Moosgaard chose what he believes is the document of an early cult: The Weimar Bauhaus. The founder Walter Gropius intended the movement as a secret lodge, from which a small circle were to spread the word about the new “faith of architecture” to the world. Kandinsky, Klee, Breuer and Itten were masters of esoteric rites, expressing a longing for the spiritual instead of the formal. The Bauhaus’ cultish nature is often mistaken as pragmatic modernism, like avant gardes can easily be mistaken for tribes.

On a secret island with limited resources, a single book is the seed for new phenotypes of early western modernisms: a mutation of oceanic avant garde emerges. As if modernism grew out of natural conditions rather than urban functionality. Bauhaus Ayoke documents the mutation of these ideas, the transformation of materials and the development of a new visual language. Using natural color extracts, coconut fibre and banana leaves, Peter Moosgaard reconstructed key pieces from the Bauhaus’ early history, retracing its history along an alternative space-time axis.

At the Palais des Beaux Arts, this oceanic version of “Bauhaus Ayoke” published by the Palais de Beaux Arts is a completely transformed version of the MoMa publication (Hardcover, 344 pages), a shamanic re-work of its contents, collaged with botanica, notes, documentation footage and painting. It was physically transformed into a different book on the journey, leaving sand between the pages, the charm “lumay” from siquijor island, a new cover made from coconut fibre and project documentation of alternate modernist designs.

Karin Ferrari:
(The Whole Picture)


The visual encodings marking the digital interface might be possessed with a subversive symbolic potential. The symbolic dimension of the digital interface desires to be recognized and examined, which will also unleash its magical transformative power. Is the wireless icon the antidotal counterpart to the all-seeing eye? Or are we simply already entangled in the ever present surplus of symbolic meaning?

In Hyperconnected (The Whole Picture), Karin Ferrari introduces a speculative chart mapping the flux of meanings between a cluster of icons related to the web. By appropriating and re-envisioning mimetic signs and their syntactical relations, new technicoloured virtual possibilities emerge from the ominous undercurrents that flow through planetary telecommunication networks and archaic power structures. Next time you touch a WiFi symbol, a different kind of connection might be established.

Fabian Faltin:


Our current understanding of the internet is dominated by telelogies of information-overload, obscure and quasi religious subcultures, as well as secrecy, power and control. This is mirrored in the current trend of “post internet art”, which offers either apocalyptic or over-affirmative visions of the digital present and portrays the internet as a darwinistic snake pit governed by neoliberal principles, seamless virtuality, pornographic and neo-exoticist folklore, as well as post-critical compliance. The result is at best a religious resurrection, at worst an alogrithmic, post human machine world.

“Terrestrum`Navis&~ff$&.Internetis.museeiis//20116” questions and counterbalances these post-digital sentiments by researching and exacavating human efforts to explore the world and accumulate knowledge. By referencing the historical importance of boats, submarines and space ships, as well as the golden age of libraries, museums, and printing (1750 to fin de siecle), today’s electronic archives and digital networks are put into a larger context of exploration, navigation, discovery, collection, science and ultimately enlightenment.

The results of this open-ended theoretical and conceptual investigation was published as an essay that is at once museological manifesto, science-fiction and blue-print for the post-digital art institutions to come. At the same time, an on-site video piece will seize upon the architecture of the Palais des Beaux Arts, and in particular the richly decorated, globe-shaped foyer. This tranisition space full of floral ornaments is juxtaposed with bare-boned museological speculations, while snippets of contemporary self-referentiality interweave the forward looking energies and global optimism of what was once known as Jugendstil - a transitional style between traditional arts and crafts, and a new, worldwide machine age.


While artists have a long history of investigating the imagery of commerce, and corporations commission artists to upvalue their products, never before has the company itself been granted individual artistic agency. As a former high-end fashion publishing house turned proto-institutional construction, the Palais des Beaux Arts is the perfect location to consider the emergence of a deeper relation between luxury, fashion and artistic production.

Introducing the avant-luxury brand SANKE, from the Norwegian word meaning 'to gather'. SANKE offers health, beauty and vibrance. The unique luxury items from this company are gathered according to seasonal availability and handcrafted after artisan traditions. By reviving evolutionary principles of health, SANKE provides the body with what it has always needed, offering its customers the opportunity to experience life as ought to be.

SANKE premieres their new moving image campaign at Palais de Beaux Arts. A hybrid between art movie and advertisement, the video shows the avant-luxury lifestyle of SANKE. With products combining ancient knowledge and cutting-edge science a true luxury is created, one that will feel both new and instantly familiar. The video shows current products and new releases, emphasizing natural beauty. The main goal is not simply to generate affection for the company’s products, but to enable a reconnection with nature and the patterns of bodily desire formed through evolution.

Photography by Siv Dolmen

Enrico Zago: Totem

Enrico Zagos “Totem” reconfigures our understanding of the extraordinary jugendstil façade of the Palais des Beaux Arts as a layer of symbols and patterns signifying changing meaning and beliefs. His Totem is a three dimensional assemblage based on the abstraction of distinctive historic elements using contemporary design tools and methods. The spatial dimensions and belle époque ornament merge into a new form, allowing a different perspective on the cities exterior not only as a relic of history, but also as timeless canvas on which we can project our futures.

Rosemary Lee: Artifacts

Dead pixels, moiré patterns, distortion, and other digital aberrations are source material through which to explore the incongruencies between data and the material substrate of digital representation. It is an exploration of the gap between the properties of digital objects and their display via apparatus, revealing anomalies and glitches, particles and bits in the textures of electronic artifacts. Closely examining parallels between the basic units of digital images and those of matter, cubic pixels and digital crystalline structures offer a shift of scale as well as giving a nod to media geology. Artifacts is a compilation of specimens which blur the lines between geological sample and digital anomaly.

Pussykrew: Metaballs

It’s 2014 and we’ve arrived in an interesting place: everything is digital. The old dualisms of digital/analog and material/virtual are null and void. The digitisation of everything preceding this era is well underway or already complete. To be looking for something thats purely “analogue", something with no influence of computational efforts, is like looking for a unicorn, that as we all know do exist, but are very rare. This is the new normal, we call this the post-digital age. Surely we have not arrived here having solved all prior problems, but aren’t we all excited to also solve any new difficulties this creates?

Ewelina Aleksandrowicz and Andrzej Wojtas “Metaballs" indicate a new specific issue of these times: how do we differentiate post-digital aesthetic experiences and our ambivalent physical relation to them? Contemporary computer interfaces seemingly allow us to touch everything, but any approach stops at the invisible barrier of the screen. Tangible interfaces are still mostly media lab vapour ware and they solely aim at replacing the sensorial system with which we read concrete information. Pussykrews Metaballs allow us to imagine that, at least very briefly, not only touching the surreal surfaces of these objects is within our reach, but that we also can wrap our arms around these shapes created by freezing a particular moment of a digital fluid simulation. They casually introduce a new dichotomy to differentiate objects and our experiences with them in the post digital age: they allow us to imagine that a streamable experience is now a grabbable object of our desire for aesthetic experiences.

Joe Hamilton: Appraisal

In his first commissioned work for public space, Joe Hamilton directly confronts the local art historical context. From digitized representations of historic surfaces, Joe Hamilton created a series of space and image abstractions. Embedded in the web app „Appraisal“, it requires the viewer to rate each work to carry on with the exhibition. The interface loosely resembles the online dating app Tinder. This simplification of complex cultural gestures opposes the complexity of his visual work. By interweaving visual references to architecture, painting and nature, Joe Hamilton creates representations of immaterial, hyper-connective spaces as they are only to be imagined in our increasingly networked societies.

Museum of Internet: Object

For the re-inauguration of the Palais des Beaux Arts, the Museum of Internet created a website based on a collection of images which explores the representations of artefacts in the contexts of hyperconnected media and authoritative institutions.

"Object is a webpage connecting different objects together by means of highlighting their statuses and contextualization. The artwork is presented by Museum of Internet, a museum focused on collecting and sharing images that make the internet awesome."


Artistic Director: Seth Weiner

Founding Very Artistic Director:
Bernhard Garnicnig (2013–2017)

Interface and Research Dramaturgy:
Fabian Faltin

Eva Maria Mandl (

Sonic Ethnography of Contemporary Music:
Simone Borghi

Salvatore Viviano

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