The House of Antipode was an exhibition curated for EPHEMEROS, an event series of experimental club music and performances in Vienna. They manifested in what used to be a transhipment point for trade goods and as underground shelter in troublesome times. Until up to recent years, it was buried under many cubic meters of dust and debris from the Second World War.
The history of the cellar in the first district of Vienna is deeply connected with the beginning as well as the end of the Habsburg monarchy; they share a similar lifetime. The house of antipode intended to take this histories up and reevaluate the metaphorical tie between the deep cellar and the “Habsburg myth” (Habsburgischer Mythos): An idealistic Austrian image that advocates for nostalgic imperial pride and ignores the layers of discrimination inherent to its society.
The nationalist nostalgia builds upon an idealist version of history and invokes only a selective retrospection: that of the refusal of internal change and the allocation of guilt in the “Others”. Besides the geopolitical history, the space possesses its own mythology as a cellar/cave/ labyrinth: death and rebirth, monster and hero, maze and puzzle. In contrast to institutional spaces which have been “tamed” to a delicate social-political function, the cellar maintains its rawness, earthiness, secrecy and darkness as “Other” architecture. Its identity is immature yet covert. We, the “Others” are “the underground” who stand as an alternative to the mainstream nationalistic and patriarchal narrative of the majority up there.
FOTOCREDITS: Anna Skuratovski