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Branding UK — embrace the swarm

Cooperation with the Ars Electronica Center / FutureLab
and the Ravensbourne College, London

Ars Electronica "Unplugged"

Installation of 6 signs put up at various spots around the area of the Donaulände and in the Art&Tek Institute



During the Ars Electronica 2002 I put up 6 signs around the area of the Donaulände Installation. Each of the signs refers to a distinct British contemporary phenomenon. Take "Streakers", or the "Liberation of Garden Gnomes" and other peculiarities.

The signs – and in this case the invitation to have a try – should demonstrate these various British rituals as a challenge, because they address every single person. Visitors and passers-by are prompted to consider what social conditions allow or provoke such unusual or semi-legal acts, rumours or pranks in Great Britain; And what comparable similar or different phenomena are to be observed in Austria. Furthermore the purpose of creating signs is to give a frame to our Team's initial idea of a contemporary British "Colony" in Linz, and its capacity of developing rules and regulations nowadays.

Streaking at the Arcotel
For decades men and women have crossed the lawn during sports-events stark naked. However the news of a "Streaker", appearing in front of the Queen's Rolls Royce, who could only to be stopped by the police, still attracts attention around the world.
Worm Charming at the river banks
"Worm Charming" Championships take place all over England. Each competitor tries to charm as many worms as possible out of a certain patch of ground. To accomplish this vibrating garden folks, other tools and music are used.
Tramspotting at the Nibelungenbrücke
Going out for the day with the one aim to get photos of trams in various styles. Tramspotters - already the word is used as a swearword in Great Britain - are also called "Anoraks". They write down registration numbers, collect pictures and trade them with fellow lovers.
Dog Boarding next to the Brucknerhaus requested
Is it true, that skateboarding, and the distinct English love of dogs have lead to a brand new habit? It basically involves a dog pulling its owner around on a skateboard, and it is rumoured to be very popular in areas in South East England.
Smashing Toilet Seats
British Pub owners have to go and check at night, if the toilet seats have not been taken. If seats have disappeared, they are usually found in the road smashed to pieces. Some guests also snap them and leave them, just for a laugh.

Stealing Garden Gnomes at the Donaulände
The cult prank is a serious object with some people in the UK, too. The "gnome-Liberation-Army" is fighting for freedom for all garden gnomes. Sometimes, "liberated" gnomes turn up in forests or elsewhere. - They have even been known to send greetings from their holidays.

'Branding UK' – within the project 'embrace the swarm - exploring collaborative authorship' projekt credits for that: Institutions: University of Art and Design Linz, Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication, Ars Electronica Center. Exhibition places: Art&Tek Institute, Donaulände. Coordination: Michael Shamiyeh, Dietmar Offenhuber, Team Linz: Christoper Lindinger, Helmut Höllerl, Horst Hörtner, Andreas Jalsovec, Team Kent: Michael Breidenbruecker, Karel Dudesek. Student Team Linz: Nikolaus Diemannsberger, Peter Freudling, Joachim Koll, Margit Nobis, Tina Reisinger, Bettina Steinmaurer, Regina Raml, Heike Nösslböck, Vinzenz Naderer, Clemens Mock, Pia Schauenburg. Thanks to: Verkehrszeichen Schilder Doblhofer
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