A History of Techno-Visions since the 18th Century

The exhibition will offer a unique cultural and historical overview of the 'history of the future'. With over 600 pieces from the 18th to the 20th century, most of which have never been shown in Austria, the show will present those creations visually embodying the eternal dreams of humanity. Not just inventors, engineers, artists, architects and politicians produce these images of the future, but also ordinary man, the trend-conscious consumer or the child fascinated by technology. Architectural models, film excerpts, visual arts works, everyday design, science and science fiction will cover the various areas for which the desired machines and dream machines were invented.

The exhibition will seek to present those images that help us to understand what is around us, making it possible for us to conceive of the inconceivable, and to develop it long before it ever becomes technically feasible. The invention of this world is the unifying dimension of this exhibition: it is a sort of dream machine which does not destroy itself but instead is transcended.

The various thematic areas are grouped and interlinked in the open rooms of the exhibition architecture designed by Zaha Hadid and Patrik Schumacher.

The viewer enters the dream machine of the exhibition through a satellite transmission of Peter Brueghel's "Babylonian Tower". Babel stands both for the failed dream of universal understanding as well as for the mega-machine which suddenly enlargens the world to an enormous scale.

The ordering principles of architecture as a medium of total survey and of military formations as a symbolic order creates an oppressive social scenario. The exhibited examples range form Jeremy Bentham's panopticum as a control machine all the way to the architectural orders of prisons, hospitals, factories and offices, battle arrays and drills showing the individual and a group of persons - the mass body of the army representing the machine as physical order.

With the opening of the body in the 18th century, man began to understand the functions of the body, human anatomy as an interaction of various individual mechanisms and their respective functions. In the androids, they become completed as large automats representing the arts: they draw, make music, write or play chess.

The eternal desire of man to artificially reproduce life is illustrated in the exhibition on the basis of two machines of the late 18th century: the tympanon player built by David Roentgen and Peter Kintzing in 1785 for Marie Antoinette as well as Wolfgang von Kempelen's Talking Machine, which was constructed to study the mechanism of human speech. The perspective of being able to see the body in its individual parts and its functions is shown in Glass Woman as example of the nineties. Here all those parts of the body are revealed which can be artificially replaced by means of today's medicine.

In the conception of the Cyborg (one of the earliest examples of this is Chevalier de Beauve's diver's suit developed around 1715) the idea is not just to open up new life spaces by means of new tools. Man requires a second skin and extensions of the body to be able, for instance, to remain under water. Only with a technically refined body can new vital spaces be conquered. At the same time the limitations of human existence are explored on the basis of technical means.

The old dreams of travelling to the core of the earth and into outer space become possible once the body becomes subjected to technology. With the conquest of the desired worlds, a phantasy is triggered once again and new spaces are aimed at. Man's eternal dream to leave the earth is illustrated in the familiar imagery of science fiction illustrations for Jules Vernes' novels of the thirties and fifties and in the representations of balloon voyages to the moon, in strange models of airplanes, in Roman Signer's poetic rocket illustrations and in Paramarenko's paradoxical objects.

The most recent ideas of artificial life, voyages through time and space as well as virtual worlds are made accessible and tangible in interactive computer installations and real-time imagery of Internet as well as within the exhibition space of the Kunsthalle Wien and in the show windows of the former Porr-Haus, Karlsplatz, right across from the Kunsthalle.

List of artists in addition to numerous works of unknown inventors: V. Acconci, G. Balla, A. Böcklin, M. Broodthaers, R. Buckminster Fuller, J. Callot, J. Capek, H. Cartier-Bresson, Coop-Himmelblau, Le Corbusier, T. Crali, F. Depero, T. van Doesburg, A. Exter, B. Feuerstein, Y. Friedman, Future Systems, R. Gernreich, W. Hablik, P. Halley, Haus-Rucker-Co, H. Höch, H. Hollein, F. Kiesler, A. Kubin, M. Lassnig, C.-N. Ledoux, F. Léger, Lequeu, El Lissitzky, R. Magritte, Man Ray, A. Masson, G. Matta-Clark, G. Méliès, L. Moholy-Nagy, B. Munari, Panamarenko, E. Paolozzi, W. Pichler, A. Ramelli, R. Rauschenberg, F. Reuleaux, A. Robida, A. Sant ' Elia, O. Schlemmer, R. Seymour "Shortshanks", R. Signer, R. Smithson, K. Teige, Villiers de L'Isle-Adam.

Idea and concept: Brigitte Felderer, Herbert Lachmayer, Toni Stooss

Curator: Brigitte Felderer

For information and photo material, please contact:
Dietlinde Bügelmayer, tel: +43-1-586 9776-25, FAX: 586 9776-20

Series of Scientific Events

on the subject: "Issues Related to Mediation of Technological Policy Between Competence, Vision and Responsibility"

Saturday, June 15 and Saturday June 29, 1996, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Within the context of this series of events, technological policy will be made accessible to the public. Here the necessary interplay of various competences (experts, politicians, theoreticians, those involved in specific applications and those directly affected by them) will be revealed in a sophisticated and innovative discourse. The focus will be on society and the visionary dimension of technological policy with the following topics being addressed:

- Mobility society in a virtual planning space

- Social visions in technological policy

- Ecology design versus a throwaway society

- Work and automatization in information society

Panel discussions will be directed by Michael Freund and Georg Schöllhammer.

The following persons will participate in the discussions: Wolf Prix (Los Angeles, Vienna), Zaha Hadid (London, Vienna), Elsa Prochazka (Vienna), Ina Wagner (Vienna), Helga Novotny (Budapest, Zurich), Christian Möller (Frankfurt, Linz), Walter R. Stahel (Geneva), Karl Pilstl (Linz), Gunther Tichy (Vienna), Jehuda Elkana (Berlin, Tel Aviv, Zurich), Georg Kapsch (Vienna), Volkar Albus (Frankfurt, Karlsruhe), Bernhard Siegert (Berlin), Peter Berz (Berlin), G. Weizenbauer (Vienna), Wolfgang Pircher (Vienna), Verena Formanek (Vienna), G. Feltl (Vienna), Christoph Langhoff (Berlin), Stefan Mießgang (Vienna), Stephan Börries (Berlin, Florence), and others. Changes may still be possible.

We would like to thank the Federal Ministry of Science, Education and Art, the Federal Ministry of Public Economy and Traffic, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the French Cultural Institute for their support.

Guided Tours: Thursdays 6.00 p.m., Fridays 4.00 p.m., Saturdays 3.00 p.m., Sundays 11.00 a.m. and 3.00 p.m.