DIE VERBESSERUNG VON MITTELEUROPA, ROMAN.
(Bootlegs, White Cover)
Presentation at Friday Exit Gallery Vienna
A concise list of keywords is found in the beginning of Oswald Wieners legendary book "DIE VERBESSERUNG VON MITTELEUROPA, ROMAN". As the list is composed mathematically, we could speak of the first tagcloud. But we will refrain from doing that. This goes deeper. Written between 1965-1969 in postwar vienna, the use of language itself seemed fishy, exploited and misused by totalitarism. What was there - similarly experienced today - left to say? What could one say about beauty? Nothing.
The result of Wieners infamous examination is an anarchic text-fortress. An anti-novel, a universal book. Not as the arbitrary replay of "world" but as hard science of words put together. Doubting the role of language itself, words and their constellations here became tools, pills, swords, instruments to affect reality. This connection between processed language and the physical is not accidentally up to date in our informational age: Oswald Wiener being an early pioneer of applied cybernetics, his "appendix a" in the book named Der Bioadapter (1965/66) is maybe the first sketch of a world totally governed by calculatory machines and simulation - suggesting a solution for all world problems through the means of technology. Does that ring a bell?
A tribute, a theft of a book which contains the words: "Beware. Everything that exists is outdated.", can only be made through the means of an exact replica, an appropriation of the first edition of "DIE VERBESSERUNG VON MITTELEUROPA, ROMAN (engl: The improvement of middle europe, novel) right down to the classic typeface. Generally speaking, in visual and conceptual arts, there is a long tradition of appropriation, beginning - just to name the big ones - with Duchamp, whose entire oeuvre consists of "copies" and found materials, to Richard Prince, the re-photographer or Warhol, who, you name it.
Brion Gysin infamously argued that “literature is fifty years behind painting”, and notorious efforts in the literary arts – efforts which compliment visual arts practices – do not share an artistic renown. We'd say it's 100.
Following this model we lift a groundbreaking masterpiece of radical viennese avantgarde. No intervention, no editing. The intention begins and ends with this lifting. We create literary appropriation, using conversion, one of the most ubiquitious mechanisms found in cyberspace. Outruling copyright, each copy now published was transcribed and signed by an individually hired virtual assistant 1:1 - making each one a piece of art. Fitting the needs of anti-expression, there is absolutely no creative transformation present except for the reframing of content.
Exhibition: The Books are commissioned and presented by Friday Exit Gallery 1010 Vienna, June 14th, 9pm. As we do not own Copyrights on the original (long out-of-print and ultra-rare) Rowohlt edition, we run a limited edition, signed 1-60