The exhibition by Viennese photographer Markus Krottendorfer is entitled Phantom of the Poles and references the eponymous book by English scientist William Reed. The book is a 1906 treatise that set out to demonstrate that the Earth was hollow on the inside and that there could be life there with its own flora and fauna. This inner world was said to have two entrances, one at each Pole. The theory, while hotly debated in its day, was disproved by the successful polar expeditions only a few years after the book's publication.
The exhibition explores different conceptions of the world, and while some are no longer up-to-date, they still shape modern society. The ideology of science fiction epitomises the sense of hope derived from belief in science and technology. Indeed, few are the constraints imposed on reveries about the future of humankind. During the cold war the zeitgeist was shaped by a mix of popularised science fiction and established science. Today this fascination with the belief in technology and progress is an outdated notion of the world. The exhibition at the Fotohof
, featuring three slide projections and photographic works, is a fantastical journey of discovery, describing what we perceive from our vantage point as we gaze out to unexplored regions, within and without, and across the universe.
The exhibition at the Library features photographs from Alfred Seiland's book East Coast − West Coast published in 1986 by Edition Stemmle in a German and English version. What is particularly remarkable about the publication, which was reviewed along with Sally Eauclaire's The New Color Photography, is the speed with which an early Austrian (autodidactic) position on colour actually gained momentum at the international level shortly after its first national award, namely the presentation of the Rupertinum Photo Prize in 1983. The introductory essay by David Travis, long-standing curator of photography at the Art Institute of Chicago, undoubtedly also contributed to the success of both the book and the exhibition project, which subsequently toured many American institutions.