Surges – the emergence of language from the water

Underwater: place of writing, not voice

A trio of artists deals with the sinking of books in Ebensee in 1934.

(Original title: Brandungen – die Entstehung der Sprache aus dem Wasser)

Subject to change
© SalomeVrbadeAlmeida

Ana de Almeida, Jakub Vrba, Christian Wimplinger (Project Leaders)

Simone Barlian (Head of Programme Visual Arts)
Teresa Kranawetter (Assistance Visual Arts)

July 2024

About the project

The destruction of books and libraries has historically always been associated with fire – a destructive force. In the case of the sinking of books in Ebensee in 1934, this balance of power shifts from fire to water. The sunk books were driven back to the shore and had to be sunk again. This set in motion a cycle that temporarily silenced and also destroyed the books, but preserved them in their deformed form and allowed them to return to their place of origin.

In a joint exchange of their competences, which include images, texts and sounds, the artist trio develops an installation essay – a discursive apparatus conceived as a constellation of various artworks, documents and artifacts that communicates in a multidirectional way. Starting from the sunken library in Lake Traunsee, visitors are enabled to navigate through the exhibition space while observing the discursivity of the fluid exchange of signs, which individually represent nothing but debris and only reveal themselves through engagement with poiesis. The entire creative process will take place on a raft, which will be carried by the water flow of the Traunsee, thus adding a participatory dimension.

In the second phase of the project, sculpture-like structures will emerge from the collected material, which has previously been dipped in resin, and will merge into a large-scale spatial installation.