The OK Centrum für Gegenwartskunst in Linz, Austria, is hosting an exhibition (Open House, March 11th - May 2nd, 2004) and I, as an artist, have been invited to participate.
First, I would like to tell you a story which happened exactly 100 years ago, only one block away from the OK Center.
In the year 1904-05, Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Wittgenstein attended the same school, known today as the Bundesrealgymnasium Fadingerstrasse, in Linz. Hitler and Wittgenstein, then 15, appear less than a meter away from each other on a school photograph. Despite lack of further evidence about a possible relationship, it is probable that Wittgenstein was "the Jew of Linz" to which Hitler referred to in Mein Kampf as the very one who triggered his antisemitism.
Because the consequences of this encounter may have dramatically shaped the 20th century, one can't stop imagining the world we would live in today if things had gone differently in the schoolyard : there would be a million Jews in Austria, the state of Israel might not exist, the Cold War could have taken another course etc
The encounter of both adolescents, even imagined, can therefore be seen as the very ouset - the birth of the 20th century. Why should such a significant event remain unnoticed ?
As my artistic project I am planning the erection of the Monument to the Birth of the 20th Century, in the surroundings of the Fadingerstrasse in Linz, to be inaugurated in the beginning of 2005. It will be funded by private sponsors, with no use of public money.
At this point the concept and the design of the Monument to the Birth of the 20th Century are being considered and researched. Part of my research is to write people in Linz, Austria and abroad, who I assume are interested in politics, history, philosophy or what ever is happening in the public sphere. Hence my letter which leads me to ask you how you would envision such a Monument to the Birth of the 20th Century.
I would be grateful if you could share your ideas or comment on this project. I'm looking forward to reading from you; thank you for your time and valued contribution in advance. I'm at your disposal for any further information and discussion.