U-Turn 1   Austria   1993

Margot PILZ  

At the end of the 1980s and start of the 1990s two artistic media with entirely different histories and effects on their audiences combined to form that curious hybrid the video sculpture. What is inadequate about the name ? today one tends to speak more generally just of "installations" ? is perturbing in this context is the basic irreconcilable prerequisites of the two terms sculpture and video that are being combined here. Although it remains true that in the exhibition context of the early 1990s video could be far better positioned as a medium with a link to a traditional genre like sculpture than it could have been without it.
Margot Pilz uses the term "interactive multimedia sculpture" to describe her work U-Turn 1. Built into a sculptural shiny silver casing shaped like the letter U are two monitors showing manipulated excerpts from the official telephone book for the City of Vienna (ATB) to be understood as a sociological study, as the "statistical bible" for the population of Vienna. The data is listed alphabetically and was programmed on an early Amiga computer. Margot Pilz, who works in different media but primarily as a photographer with an affinity for performances, was one of the first artists in Austria to use the computer and digitalised data in her work. The connection between video and sculpture is perhaps most striking in Pilz's work Cyber Knowledge (1993/94), which along with U-Turn 1 forms a thematic cycle: Two video eyes blink with footage of grazing animals in the full-sized rhinoceros head mounted on the wall that alternate abruptly with the viewers' own images. This interlacing of the viewed with the viewer also applies to U-Turn 1, although in the latter "with an archaeologist's view, entries on immigration and emigration, upheaval, movement and modern nomads" are to be discerned, to quote Margot Pilz.
(Patricia Grzonka/Jonathan Quinn, Engl.)


Gruppenausstellung - 1993

Station 3, Wien, Austria


1min 15sec stereo color PAL

Technical protocol

Amiga computer, paint program, digitized phone book entries transferred on VHS

U-shaped video installation (iron sculpture), two monitors, tape, sound; separate sound recording from call centre (telecom directory assistance); 20 ink jet prints


Margot Pilz

Copy to see

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, St. Pölten