Audiovisual Nov29 2016, Amsterdam

Red Vienna in Pictures

As discussed in the first European Echo podcast on Red Vienna, in my 2015 trip to Vienna I sought to take as many pictures as possible. I was particularly interested in documenting the immense, city-wide scale of the Red Vienna project, as well as the overwhelming grandeur of some of the signature buildings. As a result, I mainly captured social houses in their entirety. It’s the sort of thing a city planner would do, or an architect, trying to totalise the urban environment. It has its merits though…

Rabenhof, a prime example of the so-called social condenser, in which not only houses, but all manner of communal facilities were provided to foster sociablility and a communal outlook

 

Winarsky-Hof, a massive complex of houses, the date it was built, 1924-25, is featured in the middle. Many of the major houses were built around this time.

The monumental Reumann-Hof, the site of the socialists’ last stand

But on my trip I was also accompanied by my much more easy going travelling companion, Jake Soule. He was less interested in cattching them all, and more up for soaking up the vibe. We mostly got along fine, but it did produce the odd antagonism.

Jake wandering around the Proletarian Ringroad

I particularly bristled on our last day, when Jake demanded we stop for coffee at a small cafe on the so-called Proletarian Ringroad. His choice proved the right one though, as it led to a chance encounter with Jutta Schwarz. Jutta had grown up in the area and had just finished a month-long series of tours of the Proletarian Ringroad. She was kind enough to show us around in the last few hours we had in the city.

The result was a steady transition to capturing the smaller details. The subsequent images convey a mood tempered by Jake’s presence, and Jutta’s very particular knowledge…

Herwegh-Hof, with Jake and Jutta talking in the corner

A plaque commemorating the first socialist mayor of Vienna Karl Seitz, in front of which the community would host dramatic performances.

A tranquil scene in Reumann-Hof, on the Proletarian Ringroad

A fountain statue commemorating motherhood

 

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