Christian Philipp Müller

A project around the Freihaus in Vienna

These are questions Christian Philipp Müller is concerned with in this polyphonous art project A world of its own. A project in and around the Freihaus in Vienna, comprising of various elements and seemingly disparate positions. The artist adapts it to a system that oscillates between the unity of a specific theme and its diversification into generalisation. The "Freihaus", located in the 4th municipal district of Vienna, was once the largest housing projects in Vienna for over three hundred years. Around three thousand people lived in the 6 courts divided into 31 units, lying between Wiedner Hauptstraße, Schleifmühlgasse, Margaretenstrasse and Mühlgasse. Freihaus was a city within a city, an autonomous self-sufficient area with a jurisdiction of its own. This was also the venue of Emanuel Schikaneder's Theater auf der Wieden, where Mozart's "Magic Flute" was premièred. It also consisted of a concert hall, a library and the Rosalia Chapel. In the 20th century the Freihaus was pulled down and the School of Technology built on its grounds in the 70s.

Today the Freihaus exists only in the memory of its residents. Christian Philipp Müller visited its residents, spoke to them and collected their stories. He unfolds a kind of 'sociotrope' in the form of oral history along the divide between public space and private mythologies of the occupants of this space. Müller has produced a radio play to reach a wider audience, and a CD for more a private access. The visuals of the project are relegated to an off-space in the district. A sculptural installation occupies the central space in which Müller samples laconic and documentary material for a Freihaus vaudeville. The soundtrack, composed of a selection of commentaries and statements, adds an auditory as well as acoustic dimension to the visual. A literary café and an exhibition area provide additional information on facts and fiction about the district. The CD and a comprehensive catalogue will appear in October this year.

Several events, including a film series in Schikaneder Kino, readings in Cafe Anzengruber, guided tours through the Freihaus district etc., will supplement Christian Philipp Müller's art project toward the investigation of a microcosm within the macrocosm of a city's district. A world of its own is a multi-disciplinary collage of life in a community, of a universe mirrored in local space. A world of its own is the emissary of a 'public art' that has been continually 're-formatting' itself.