The daily labour done on the streets of our cities remains often invisible. The way Vienna looks like is rather seen as the “normality”: Streets are clean, street lights are working, the city is “safe”. Only when something is not functioning do we realize that someone did not do their job. The “machine Vienna” is a human machine. It is a daily routine – processed by human beings. This project focuses on the appreciation of human labour within and for the urban fabric.
Once we had started with our project, we suddenly noticed all these people working on the streets all over the city. To get an inside view and learn more about their everyday working processes, we interviewed people working on a construction site, spent a day with a garbage collector, and talked to a policeman. They told us about their experiences and the challenges they face on their day to day work situation in the streets. Moreover, we asked them to assess possible consequences given the growing automation of labour – the increasing replacement of manpower by machines. In addition, we also spoke with the responsible people of the municipal departments for the various labour going on in the city of Vienna. From all the material collected, we created a foldable poster-magazine to be spread to a broader public. The contributions range from written texts to diverse artistic approaches to communicate our findings: illustration, photography and graphic design. The overall colourful design, which creates a rather utopian, illusionary impression, leans on our assumption that many citizens live in a sort of illusionary truth: since much of the work done on the streets remains mostly hidden people are usually not conscious about it and do not reflect about the fact that the way our cities look like is not a matter of fact. Hence, this project aims to make the invisible work done on the streets as daily business more visible. It is an appreciation of all the workers, which define the cities we are living in, every day by their both human effort and labour.
- January 2020
- Catalin Betz
- Frank Daubenfeld
- Neslihan Kiran