Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy make up BOM’s latest artistic residents. They are members of qujOchÖ (an artistic, political and philosophically minded Austrian group from Linz, Austria) and their main focus during this residency is on the life and works of the influential Austrian philosopher Wittgenstein. You can come and hear them discuss their ideas (and share their food) at BOM, Thursday 4th at 7pm or at Unit 13, Minerva works, Friday the 5th at 6pm.
The trio’s current project ‘Goodbye Wittgenstein’ explores connections between Birmingham and Linz, Logic and Love and the life of Wittgenstein himself. It comprises of many interventions across Birmingham that aim to interact with the public. Seemingly simple activities (such as sending a postcard) will encourage significantly more complex thoughts in the audience about the history of Birmingham and the philosophy of Wittgenstein.
The 1914 style postcard that participants are encouraged to send to the house of David Pinsent (perhaps the only true friend of Wittgenstein), with their own personalised message. Part of the ‘A Letter to David’ intervention.
The Goodbye Wittgenstein project has been in the works for many years, with Wittgenstein acting as an influence on some of the members of quiOchÖ for over 15 years (as they studied him at University). Work at the Ars Electronica and experiencing the Festival der Regionen inspired the Artists to work with local audiences such as those they intend to engage with in Birmingham. They learned that Wittgenstein had visited the city on several occasions throughout his life and combined this knowledge with their developing connections with Birmingham artists such as Trevor Pitt and Pete Ashton at BOM. Subsequently, the interventions of Goodbye Wittgenstein are set to take place in the spaces and buildings associated with his trips and correspondence to Birmingham. The artists applied for funding in 2014 and now at last they are creating the innovative experiences they had always planned.
Their favourite parts of the project so far have been ‘contacting so many nice people in a new place’. For the artists of qujOchÖ, working in a completely different world has been an interesting change from their usual experiences in a place where they know how to get everything themselves. They also expressed great enjoyment of working on the project itself. Attempting to connect Wittgenstein’s radical ideas of early 20th century, to modern Birmingham has been an interesting task, as has been putting across both the romantic and theoretical aspects of his life. They look forward to seeing the results of their talks and interventions, for example, the phonetic translations of Wittgenstein by the public and the reactions from the public to high frequency audio of the Salome opera (that Wittgenstein walked out of on one particular visit to Birmingham).
Verena, Thomas, and Andre have a range of interests and loves when it comes to culture. From philosophy, to David Bowie, to Emily Warner of Birmingham, they are a conglomeration of different aspects of history, art and attitude. Their work illustrates just how much history and philosophy are intertwined with modern Birmingham.
Future works by qujOchÖ will explore Interrelations between sound and social, medical, architectonic and artistic contexts as part of their H:UMMMM project in Linz, which you can view info about here.