Ars Electronica 2007
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Festival 1979-2007


The Invisible Camp

'christoph mayer chm. christoph mayer chm.

A project about dealing with memory and life on the grounds of the former concentration camp Gusen I and II (Upper Austria)

The AUDIOWALK GUSEN explores a now private space that, despite a 60-year-long culture of forgetting, could not be withheld from public interest. The AUDIOWALK seeks the concealed memory of an area that contained the concentration camps Gusen I and II during the Nazi dictatorship. Whoever takes the AUDIOWALK GUSEN will be guided by a voice via headphones through a pleasant residential and recreational landscape that reveals nothing of its past on the surface.
“This has become a lovely place to live—a village in Upper Austria. That’s all there is to say about it!”
(a current resident)

You hear original recordings with personal memories by survivors of the camp, contemporary witnesses from the area and the views of today’s Gusen residents. Retired members of the German Wehrmacht and former members of the SS who were stationed at the camps Gusen I and II also have their say.

Without stations, signs or plans, just equipped with an iPod, you are led precisely through a residential area right to an underground aircraft factory.
“On the Audiowalk, the ground will sway below your feet.”
(Aleida Assmann)

While a totally different reality opens up behind the walls and facades, you yourself become the subject of observation. Initially you may still want to point your finger at the residents of Gusen, but then the distance to the speakers decreases. It becomes possible to perceive one and the same place from completely different perspectives and to place it in relation to yourself.
Duration of the AUDIOWALK: 99 min


Gusen Concentration Camp

Although Gusen concentration camp is comparable to camps such as Buchenwald and Mauthausen in its significance, it has been largely blotted out from the public consciousness. Gusen is probably the only Nazi concentration camp complex of these dimensions whose site has not been turned into a public memorial. The compound and the structural remains of the former camp are used today by companies or private persons.

Translated from German by Lisa Shoemaker

Idea and artistic realisation: Christoph Mayer chm.; Co-director, dramaturgy, audioproduction: Andreas Hagelüken;
Music: Kai-Uwe Kohlschmidt; Voice original version: Jule Böwe; Voice English version: Julika Jenkins; Outdoor recording: Jörg Theil; Sound design: Jörg Höhne, Robin Pohle, Sven Serfling; History Consultants: Gedenkdienstkomittee Gusen / Gusen Memorial Committee, Rudolf Haunschmied, Bertrand Perz; Psychological Consultant: Clava Grimm;
Organization: Luis Wohlmuther; Kommunikation / PR: die jungs kommunikation
Photos: Christoph Mayer chm., NARA, H.P. Jeschke, DORIS, Torsten Seidel, Didi Tolerian

Der AUDIOWEG GUSEN wird unterstützt von / is supported by:
Nationalfonds für Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, Bundesministerium für Inneres, Land Oberösterreich, Gemeinde Langenstein, Marktgemeinde St. Georgen an der Gusen, Gedenkdienstkomitee Gusen, Kulturverein Tribüne u.a.