Academy of Fine Arts, Yppenplatz and Rathaus
In 2020 Vienna held its state parliament and communal elections. At this moment almost 30 percent of Vienna’s population were excluded from voting because they don’t have the Austrian citizenship. This number is growing bigger because political rights are linked to citizenship and Austria has one of the most restrictive citizenship regimes in Europe. While Vienna is gaining a lot from its diverse inhabitants, one third of them are nonetheless deprived of political rights. They don’t have the possibility to vote neither are their interests represented in Austrian political discourses and actions.
The performative installation “We Vote!” addresses this undemocratic situation in an ironic way. Ballots are continuously printed, only to be destroyed right away, leaving nothing but scrap of paper. The ballots are printed by hand on a mimeograph, an obsolete office duplicator from the 70s. The machine comes from a communal office in Austria and has been rehabilitated for this performative installation. This duplicating technology, using stencil and real ink was present in offices, schools, churches, and used by political groups and artists before it was replaced by copy printers. These machines democratized printing, making cheap and quick printing possible and accessible to all. At the same time the duplicator as well as the shredder are symbols of administrative practices, the production and the destruction of the ballots represent the lack of political will to detach political rights from citizenship.
The stencil duplicator used for the installation, a Gestetner 330, will continuously printout ballots on endless paper that will be directly fed into a shredder. The goal is to print 550 500 ballots on endless paper for three days representing the absent votes of 30% of Vienna’s population.