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Death shuttle into the world

Opera, installation, paintings  | 2022  | museum of modern art collection ludwig - mumok  | Vienna

Death Shuttle into the worldAnne Schmidt
00:00 / 08:50

My work Death Shuttle into the World 

is based on an opera composed by me. 

It deals with the death of the art  work in the museum, the end of the eara of contemporrary art and the ghostly presence of the working class as a political narrative and aesthetic. 


The installation is refers to the historical stage architecture of an amphitheater or anatomy hall. 

The stage is made of metal, it is surrounded by burnt shoes, figures made of veneer wood act in it.


In paintings I have been exploring the differences between class aesthetics and their legitimation as art through art history. If death is present, it can now haunt society in the form of ancestors, ghosts, the oppressed, and apparitions. 


The sonic theatre opens up in an associative space, 

consisting of samples, recorded voices and frequency modulations. 

On the stands harlequins act in their typical way and burned shoes misslead the way. 


In the midst of these generic poses, the spectators search for answers and perform the moment of art contemplation on the stage of the amphitheater.


“In my wretchedness I have no home, not with human beings or corpses, not with the living or the dead. ”

 - Antigone


A specter is haunting us—the specter of the working class. In Cynthia Cruz’s The Melancholia of Class: A Manifest for the Working Class it is not communism but the working class that, having died a symbolic death through its denial by the middle class and its expulsion from political discourse, is haunting Europe and the world. “Though (symbolically) dead, we cannot be put to rest because we are still alive.” Because the rite of the burial, and with it the process of symbolization, has been disrupted, the undead working class visits the living as the collector of an unpaid symbolic debt. As a ghostly figure, the working class, much like Antigone, moves between two worlds (of life and death) and between two deaths (the symbolic and the real). Antigone and the working class stand at a border where their lives are already lost but not yet over.


In Anne Schmidt’s multimedia installation Death Shuttle into the World it is contemporary art that, after its declared, symbolic death, returns as a ghost to the museum, awaiting a prize. A strange seven-headed undead clique enters the museum as a theater and examines the corpse of contemporary art. The wooden figures recall a ritual traditionally practiced in China whereby paper replicas of consumer goods are burned and thereby given to ancestors to propitiate them. Is art criticism being sacrificed to contemporary art here, or are we witnessing its funeral and thus its final death?

Text by Sophia Rohwetter

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