Stephen Bailey
Freelance Web Design, Production & Editorial [PORTFOLIO]

July 8, 2003 - We; Hilary, Eric and Stephen came to Graz for 2 reasons. To escape the oppressive and creatively stifled New York art/music scene and to be a part of the 2003 Cultural Capital. An event that due to money, apathy and a sheer lack of creativity simply would not happen in the US.

The birth of a nation, Acconci an der Mur: A brilliant sanctuary of steel and water, art and politics. Curves in the design create a flowing motion in the stillness. The Republic of Acconci was incorporated on 3 July 2003 in a ceremony that combined all of the pageantry of a political inauguration and the (staged) awkwardness of a poorly organized community theater. There in lies the genius of the people behind this project in which the boundaries between theater and reality no longer exist. It is the safest nation on earth and, if one needs, they can request asylum from oppression and spend a night in peace. We had the honor of performing there on 2 occasions.

Mountain of Memories: A visually stimulating and very personal history of Graz. Some would say that they created this mountain to bury their past. To hide the painful points from plain view. Others could argue that now the past has a place where people can spend the day and study. To think and to learn about the elements that make a city. Still others could say that this was a form of therapy. A way to face the future by accepting the past. From toys for children to mechanical breakthroughs to the Holocaust and every thing in between. Whatever the reasons, there is much to remember in this city’s near 1000 year existence.

Oskar is currently residing in the Mountain of Memories, his permanent home is the center most point of Graz. A solemn stoic figure who seems to generate emotions from all who see him. Sad, strong, peaceful, contemplative and even violent. Poor Oskar once lost his head when a drunkard picked a fight with him. But he can be proud in the knowledge that he is the most photographed landmark in Graz.

Phantom der Lust: If masochism did not already have a place in social-sexual history, it would after this showing. An intense depiction of Masoch and his affinity for being physically and mentally abused in the name of sexual gratification. Perhaps there is a political message behind this. The world’s citizens are all abused for the pleasure of those above us. Or it is just a critical view of pain as pleasure between two or more consenting adults.

Homeless World Cup: Conceived by the Graz street paper MEGAPHON, this event brought together teams of homeless soccer players from all over the world. Their intention was to stimulate awareness of the growing problem of homelessness as well as build character and confidence in the players. The opening match was between Holland and Germany. Holland won 14 to 0 and this seemed to be very amusing to the Austrian people. Of course we showed our support for the New York Team.

We live in what many call the new Roman Empire. Should we escape to Graz before our Empire falls? Here at least we are protected by mountains and the love of our friends.

Thank you Graz for allowing us to not only witness the 2003 Cultural Capitol, but be a part of it.


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