Orlando’s Vienna Stroll

Orlando’s Vienna Stroll

Michaela Preiner

Foto: (Glass Circle )


August 2023

Many of us don't have the best memories of the lockdown era. That's not the case for Ece Anisoglu and Julia Pacher. After all, they developed "The Orlando Project" together when culture was at a standstill on the outside. Now it had its open-air premiere in Vienna in August.

The theatrical project aimed to interactively confront the audience with the story of Orlando by Virginia Woolf along various stations within Vienna’s city center. On foot, equipped with a cell phone and headphones, they set out on a path with a total of five stations, accompanied by a charming guide. Approximately 9,000 steps had to be completed in a time of 1.5 hours. At each station, the participants received instructions on which environment they had to point the camera of the cell phone provided in order to activate the app installed on it.

Anisoglu and Pacher’s work is highly transnational, which in this context meant that every single station in Orlando’s life had been designed by other artists. Visuals that could be seen on the small cell phone screens partially merged with the environment for which they were made. Except for one station, the audience listened to the text by Sophie Steinbeck, who had made an abridgment, but also an overwriting of Woolf’s literary model. In doing so, she had used narratives from the individual book chapters on the one hand, but also introduced her own ideas, which at times added another layer to the original text. A small sample:

“the english language is not enough to say what he feels
the german language must be enough for the author to understand what orlando cannot say in english.”

Aras Levni Seyhan delivered the musical bracket that connected all the individual stations.
Claudia Virginia Dimoiu, Simon Goritschnig, Theo Emil Krausz, Nour Shantout, Cosima Büsing, Metamorkid and Lara Sienczak are those artists who had also been invited to this project and delivered contributions.

The story of Orlando is diverse and colorful, dreamlike and at the same time visionary in structure. “The Orlando project” adopts this multicolor. The narrative of the life of a man who transforms into a woman stretches from the Middle Ages up to our own time. Each of the five stations marks a particular time period and bears its own artistic signature. Visual transformations with the help of virtual reality, dance and song interludes recorded on video and reworked on the computer, but also a sculpture garden that you can walk through thanks to a magnificent artificial architecture, create variety and excitement. What begins in the Griechengasse finally ends in the Museumsquartier in front of the Mumok.

The diverse impressions have been charmingly recorded in a leporello, which one receives at the end of the trip. It thus becomes a kind of memory tool along which one can let one’s thoughts wander. Both a brief description of the individual stations and the complete text to be heard are recorded on it. The individual text stations are supplemented with a small photographic excerpt. Large enough to set the memory in motion, small enough to revive one’s own sensations and impressions.

In fact, the artistic team managed to create a sustainable work, which – it is planned – can be discovered in the future with the help of the app alone. This also makes sense, because the overabundance of impressions, coupled with the “real life” that inevitably surrounds you during the performance, do not allow you to take in, hear, see and process everything at the same time.

Individual aesthetically very successful realizations remain in the memory. For example, the artificial landscape of sculptural imprints by Simon Goritschnig in the Schweizerhof of the castle, or the work of Manuel Biedermann, who expanded the transgender performance of Metamorkid with a memorable mapping animation on the wall of the Mumok. The fragmented Persian carpet by Nour Shantout on the facade of the Weltmuseum, which symbolizes Orlando’s stay in Istanbul, also belongs to this group. It should also be noted that it succeeded in plausibly tracing Orlando’s passage through the centuries and ultimately seeing his change of gender in a contemporary light.

Should the project emancipate itself in the next step with a self-operating app, this could develop into a new Viennese attraction that artistically underscores the internationality of this city.

Dieser Artikel ist auch verfügbar auf: German French

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