“World pollution, there’s no solution
Just black or white, rich or poor
Them and us, stop the war”
Listening to “I’d love to change” by Ten Years After, we see three choppers taking the streets of Vienna. The riders are three members of the architecture group Zünd-Up: Timo Huber, Bertram Mayer, Michael Pühringer, who are invited in 2002 by curator Jan Tabor to create the exhibition “Mega: Manifeste der Anmaßung” in Künstlerhaus Wien. Their projects address the “social ills, the inequitable distribution of resources, the global terror”, migration, life in Africa.
Triggered by the exhibition, ORF creates a video retrospective on Zünd-Up. The broadcast makes individualized profiles of the three protagonists, and the art and built projects that came after the brimming 60s. But how did everything start then? Space exploration and the global unrest – May ’67, the era of Kennedy, Nixon, Kissinger and the Vietnam war, had relatively went unnoticed in Austria in relation to Czechoslovakia, China, or France. However in Vienna appear in one year, in 1958, three manifestos: das Verschimmelungsmanifest von Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Architektur mit den Händen von Arnulf Rainer und Markus Prachensky, und Inzidente Architektur von Günther Feuerstein. Ten years later, the ground is ripe enough to host the radical happenings of Zock-Fest (1967) and Kunst und Revolution (1968) that target “property, family, religion, order” and shift the spotless narrative of a generation.
ORF interviews Feuerstein and the Zünd-Up members on the Wiener Aktionisten, their relation to the Viennese commune, psychedelic rock, as well as the parallel emergence of Coop Himmelblau and Haus-Rucker-Co. Zünd-Up brings the experience of these relatively undocumented events and the writings of Marshall McLuhan into their work, initially as students, with the project The great Vienna auto-expander (1969). They continue experimenting with erotic, utopic, fetish, machinic futures for architecture, many of which we see on the screen, as well as in the exhibition Radical Austria: Everything is Architecture.
In 1970, the group expands into Salz der Erde, including Wolfgang Brunbauer, Johann Jascha, Günter Matschiner, and Hermann Simböck. Jascha describes here his involvement as a schrei-aktionist (shrieking-actionist) and details the day at the Mirabell-Platz in Salzburg. We come across his vagina-imitating Maulborno (1971) und Nabelborno (1972), and watch him recreate various distinctive performances that used to “create chaos”.
As Salz der Erde, the group combines actionism with film-making. They take part in a competition about a U-Bahn station in Vienna – submitting a movie instead of plans – to criticize the unhospitable design for disabled, elderly, and baby trolleys. And they create Mi Casa, Su Casa (1971), and Schöner Wohnen (1970), which are also featured in Die Verbesserung Österreichs.