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Wiener Festwochen, into the city, 2019

Austria and Mexico have a special history. In 1910, in the first year of the Mexican Revolution, a cooperative workers’ settlement in the Lower Austrian steel town of Ternitz gave itself the name “Mexico”. Was this an act of solidarity with Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, the heroes of the revolution? A projection by the workers onto a faraway land in South America that a true revolution would soon take place here, too, with them, from below, redistributing land and property?

Later, one of the workers’ sons of “Mexico” found himself ordered as a soldier of the guard to balls in the Palais Palffy on Josefsplatz – waltz dancing in the arms of young Mexican women from wealthy families. (The governesses at the edge strictly observing the observance of decency.) While not suspecting that he fulfilled the cliché which the Mexican Higher Society had cultivated since the short years of the unfortunate Emperor “Maximilian of Austria”. It may not be surprising that he himself later traveled on his honeymoon to Acapulco and the Pyramids.

Karl Spiehs, the legendary producer of the “Wörthersee Films”, also grew up in Ternitz and justified his wild career with “The Last Ride to Santa Cruz” – a “Spaghetti Western” with the young Klaus Kinski, for whom Gran Canaria had to serve as the South American revolutionary country.

Lukas Matthaei & Mariel Rodriguez take these and other miraculous projections as an opportunity to set up their BAILE BASSENA for the Wiener Arbeitergasse – a serenata, a homage to the multifaceted street in the middle of the Viennese neighbourhood of Margareten.

Visitors find themselves on a discovery trail along today’s working conditions after the disappearance of the working class. Instead of proletarian revolutionary folklore, they encounter precarious resistance; memories of the sunken “Red Vienna” mix with the longing for a new language to express the real demands for coming societies instead of reactionary promises of provision.

The pictures of “Mexico” along the way aim for a distant El Dorado, thereby measuring our current distance from the best of all worlds. They overwrite the folkloristic machinery that appropriates and simplifies anything foreign, but also transports historical facts and cultural self-designs.

BAILE BASSENA celebrates the emancipatory potential of these diagonal projections: Collective imaginations of the “Other” – that which is not yet here. From which concrete ideas of a better life in social change emerge.

Today the candy-coloured costumes of the delivery services, so ubiquitous in our cities, offer migrants that entry into domestic society that the jobs of heavy industry used to offer.

At the end on June 6th there is our big ball – with Mariachi-Band on the Einsiedlerplatz, the opera singer in the hairdresser’s salon and dancing in the retirement home!