AUDIOWALK GUSEN


The central theme of the AUDIOWALK GUSEN as a walkable „sculpture“ by the artist christoph mayer chm. is the buried memory of a place where the concentration camps Gusen I and II stood during Nazi dictatorship. The visitors of the AUDIOWALK GUSEN will reconstruct this memory by means of personal recollections of survivors and of contemporary witnesses from the local population, but also from those of perpetrators and former camp guards. They will hear their voices over earphones, the abstract sound of the landscape and the description of their designation in the Third Reich while they walk through the compound of the former camp complex.

 



Sheds of the camp Gusen I used to line today’s Gartenstrasse between 1940 and 1945.
© christoph mayer chm.


They hear what they no longer see. Except for the memorial in Gusen built on the initiative of former inmates and a few unmarked buildings, the area presents itself as simply residential. Single family homes have replaced the sheds on the camp’s former territory and thus have turned Gusen into a post-war Austrian town. Where SS-henchmen and capos used to torture thousands of people to death, children nowadays play in the front yard.
As a visitor of the project, you’ll get a set of headphones and a player and a voice will guide you along the AUDIOWALK GUSEN. Making your way through today’s Gusen, you will hear the voices of contemporary witnesses, perpetrators and victims. Through the dramaturgy developed together with ars acustica expert and radio author Andreas Hagelüken You will be systematically introduced to the people and their stories set in this landscape, back then and now. The soundtrack composed by Kai-Uwe Kohlschmidt reinforces the process of the place’s all-encompassing experience and the human fates connected to it, among others by integrating sound material recorded locally. Composition, reports and narration together create a corridor between today's dominating „normality“ and the region's historical burden. The experience of the radical „discrepancy“ between the visible and the (audible) story brings out the inconceivable - the horror as well as the attempt to forget it – and perhaps that will trigger a productive discussion of this subject.

 



chrsitoph mayer chm. (left) with Gusen survivor Stanislaw Leszyinski at the spot where “his” shed used to be (block 23). © Jens Alpermann


Idea and implementation:
christoph mayer chm. and the project team „a so-called secondary camp“,
in cooperation with the National Funds For the Victims of National-Socialism, the Federal Ministry for the Interior, the market community St. Georgen/Gusen, the community Langenstein, the cultural assocoation Tribüne St. Georgen an der Gusen and the memorial service committee Gusen.



 
 
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