The grand expedition to Security-Land

28. 9. 2007 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2007


I am lonely, lonely, I was born to be lonely, I am best so, wrote William Carlos Williams in a poem in which while his family is sleeping he dances naked, shades down, before his bedroom mirror. But was he aware of the danger of burglary – that, having no particular safety measures installed at the door between the garage and the house, burglars, especially at the mentioned time, dawn, might easily have broken in and not only woken the sleeping family but also caught the middle-aged poet in such a very private state? Probably not. Therefore, as a twenty-first century writer of prose, I took my lonelyness along, fully dressed, to check out the newly opened security palace in one of Graz’s prominent peripheral shopping centers, the Center West.



It was a little disappointing initially. A very small sky-blue cube lacking any of the spectacular security tools I had been looking forward to. No land mine garden lamps, no sniper treehouses, no anti-tank jacks, no razor wire. Just some locks and some little cameras, and a stupendous number of experts in suits with illegible name badges. They came up to me like flies toward a carcass as soon as I pulled out my camera. The first three I was able to fend off by saying “Oh I’m fine, I’m just looking around.” The third, who was twice as wide as the first three, put a slightly more menacing tone in his “Can I help you?” and then explained “We don’t like people taking pictures.” He referred me to Herr Ollinger across the room. Which of the hunks in suits was the right one? I vaguely steered in the direction he had indicated. Given the size of the room, such a manoevre resembled that of a carp in the aquarium of a fish restaurant. So when I heard my man reporting the occurrence of me to another man behind the Info desk, I joined them and asked the man in the overcoat if he was Herr Ollinger. “No, this is Herr Fischer,” said the man, “but Herr Fischer will also be glad to talk to you.” I told him my name was Carp and I was blogging for the Steirischer Herbst. “It’s art,” I said as off-handedly as possible, “it’s completely harmless.” Herr Fischer wanted to see some kind of ID, because, as he explained, how should he know I was not from the competition, spying out their new security innovations and marketing secrets. After I had shown him my social security card, which, I remembered dimly just in that moment, unfortunately is no longer valid, and talked for a while on the virtues and childish creativity possibilities of the freedom of art, he apologized for his distrust and set me loose again with my camera after I had promised not to take any pictures of the prices.


On the way home, I came by the Museum of Perception (in the Augarten), where, as I had, as most things, learned from the Kleine Zeitung at breakfast, Tim Ulrichs was going to open a show on “Camouflage” that night. This camouflage was indeed quite convincing. I had some difficulty determining what was a decorative tree and what was the Museum of Perception, or, once something had been identified as a tree, whether it was covering up menace, idiocy or just plain living space.


Also, a small truck had damaged the lawn bringing rolled up grass which I assumed was to be part of the exhibition, thus leveling the difference between outside and inside, nature and culture a little bit more. Considering also the hyperbole, the leaf-lights, the vodka/water shots that left you with a quirked identity and the nature cocktail flamb of last night, I approach my departure with a sense of deep balance that I have not experienced since something like two years ago when Austrian TV produced a series that sent a declining number of young idiots on a beeline across country, moderated by Mirjam Weichselbraun.


And then I saw the Beuys on the corner.