merrymaking as political protest

In 1775 Austrian Emperor Joseph II dedicated a large piece of  land  for the use of  “all the people for their amusement and merry-making”. The park with baroque garden design is called Augarten and I live round the corner, and so it is close physically and close to my heart too. Over the years there have been various attempts to build on parts of the land, which have been for the most part thwarted. But since a few years, the City Authorities in liaison with private investors have been planning to build a large concert hall on one end of the land. Protesters have been squatting on and off for three years now. Political protest has become more playful and performance orientated in the last decade or so, for example in the form of flashmobs. But only in Vienna I guess, protesters would come up with the idea to do it in such style and in baroque style too. After some of the trees were cut down last year to prepare the ground for the building work the activists staged a funeral procession around Vienna. On May 1st, Labour Day, they arranged for a colourful protest procession in full regalia. You’ve got to love the dresses! Makes me think of the work of artist Yinka Shhonibare.

Also, they do the prettiest leaflets! I fear it will all be to no avail.

4 Responses to “merrymaking as political protest”

  1. georg becker Says:

    Thank you for this illustrated file!
    They defend Public Space and Public Law concerning garden & house belonging to the Republic (not: Reprivate) of Austria!
    We all should support them !!! (Also in urgent and transborder actions…)
    So, “We shall overcome” hopefully soon!
    Yours,
    G.B.

  2. axinia Says:

    it’s a pity I missed it…looks really special! coool idea :)

  3. Caleb Williams Says:

    Your story appealed to me very much, Sigrid. A few years back I curated an exhibition in Sydney called “Protest! environmental Activism in NSW”, which documented local eco-activism across 30 years … anyway I did not know you wrote a blog … so I’ll transfer the comment I orginally left on facebook here as well:

    “I love this … what a great image, and to hit the street in such style, what fantastically imaginative protesters … (sigh of longing) … ahhh, the 18th century!”

  4. Sigrid Says:

    thank you :-)

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