Performance during the festival "Soho in Ottakring", Vienna.

Duration: 3 hours In collaboration with M. Wildmannʼs and I. Prielerʼs architecture office, Rosi Lebzeltern, Bahar Naghibi and Birgit Beermann, a construction fence was erected to create a protected space. This was subsequently transformed into an open-air restaurant, called Pigeonry (in German Taubenkobel, which also refers to the name of a very famous and expensive restaurant in Austria). A doorkeeper admits persons who are on the fictive guest list. Then, sitting around the table in a highly elite ambience, guests can discuss the delicate pigeon meat in the proposed dishes and contemplate solutions to the problem of overpopulation in modern cities.

The table functions as a ʻhuman connectorʼ of an ever-changing group. The display of prosperity and wealth is in sharp, visual conflict with the constructed cage and the decaying buildings in the area. A transparent game between ʻinclusion and exclusionʼ seems to take place in the public space. The Taubenkobel/pigeonry project also hints at the transformation of a popular area into a fancy artistsʼ district, with the obvious consequence of rising prices. In the Middle Ages the pigeon was a prized delicacy. Today it is no longer appreciated in the same way. In urban spaces pigeons are viewed as being unclean and a nuisance, provoking reactions of disgust. The initiative to prepare a handbook of pigeon-hunting in the city and to cook the birds afterwards was a resounding success.

ʻSoho in Ottakringʼ is an art festival, located in the 16th district of Vienna. Each year a theme that addresses one or more of the areaʼs problematic issues is chosen for the festival, which presents performances, conferences, open studios and concerts during the two-week period. Many artists have their studios in this area and they aim to transform the public urban space into an open gallery and meeting point for people. The social aspect plays an important role: kindergartens, schools, food shops and the local fruit market participate in the series of events. ʻSoho in Ottakringʼ offers extensive space for artistic experimentation and tries to connect widely diverse social domains. The collaboration with the community, the media and the different artistic associations requires a network approach which aims at bringing these professional fields together.