The Factory I

Intervention (3 parts), High-Rise, Ternitz, Lower Austria (AT), 2014

Banner (on the facade of the high-rise), 10.2 m x 12 m
Soundscape of a Blacksmith’s Hammer (from the high-rise into the city), 10 min.
Staged-Reading with 13 Women from Ternitz (inside the high-rise), approx. 22 min.

The work in the steel factory was male dominated. Archive images and descriptions are evidence of hard work. Liquid steel. Madman heat. Dirt. Noise. The illustrations of Schoeller-Bleckmann’s executive board shows: only portraits of men. But what role did women embody at Schoeller-Bleckmann or at the VEW (Vereinigte Edelstahlwerke) and in the political landscape of Ternitz city? Where did women work, where were they visible to the public?
A banner covers a segment of the facade of the desolate office building from the 1960s. This first part of Johanna Tinzl’s work quotes a text by the trade unionist Elfriede Barwitzius from the factory newspaper from 1975. Barwitzius’ reflection on the Austrian post-war period is symbolic for an ideology of infinite growth and for Austria's handling of its history of the postwar period. In addition, it is a subtle indication of the feminist discussions within the unions.
On 27 September 2014 the office building became the orchestra for the sound of the last remaining blacksmith’s hammer. In a rhythmic alternation the hammer sounded for a period of ten minutes above the city. The volume and densification of the composition is based on the employment statistics of the factory – louder or longer hammering meant that the economic situation was good.
Another part of »The Factory« was a staged reading on the spiral staircase in the office building by a speaking choir of young women from Ternitz. They read a collage of original quotes from Ternitzer seniors – fragmentary narratives about their relation to their work, and their personal view on the city and its history.
In its synopsis »The Factory« is a collective echo of the city.

Text: Christina Nägele

»The Factory« was developed on the occasion of »Sound against Silence« curated by Christina Nägele and supported by Public Art Lower Austria.
Thanks for the support of the speakers:
Andrea Dostal, Martina Fink, Pamela Graf, Gabi Haiden, Eva Linsberger, Michaela Linsberger, Verena Linsberger,

Leopoldine Miksitz, Tamara Podloutzky, Birgit Pfeffer, Renate Simoncic, Doris Rehling, Veronika Wagner

The Factory - Part 1 + Part 2: The Banner + Soundscape of a Blacksmith’s Hammer, 2014
The Factory - Part 3: Staged-Reading with 13 Women from Ternitz, 2014
The Factory - Part 3: Staged-Reading (Detail)