After my 2011 graduation, I was rather worried about finding a studio that would allow me to work on the large paintings I so much cared about. Various coincidents saw me stumbling into a group of individuals that organized a huge abandoned space that went by an unusual name: “mo.ë“.
They told me about the building’s history: an 18th century factory to produce military ornaments, with workers living in a part of the premises. The building was abandoned for years. Since they took it over they found a deep deep well, disposed tons of garbage, found hidden rooms and hosted all sorts of events (amongst others Roboexotica, an event where robots mixed cocktails). They also discussed their lack of financial structure and funding.
I offered to help them set up a dedicated studio space, which would be rented out to artists – in exchange for this also being my own studio space. As a result, I started being involved in a daily basis; we established stronger hierarchies and on over-arching curatorial program, which led to proper arts funding (from the district, the city of Vienna, and the national arts fund), which in turn allowed us to increase our pace: we established our own international artist in residence area that allowed us to host up to three guests at any time. We could employ someone to care about the curatorial management, who ultimately came up with the idea of exhibitions that would last only a week – and we rocked the city for a while.
People rented the space to shoot videos or host architecture or film production workshops. We invited artists to stage insane installations in our huge main hall. We hosted concerts, flea markets, film productions, architecture workshops and cats.
We frequently were commented on by guests who arrived late in the night, asking for a specific underground space they were looking for – only to realize that they were already in it, albeit in yet another make-up: by having people enter the venue through a garage door, and the space changing its face every week, you could never know what to expect.
To show you some of the craziness we hosted, here are two video shoots that were done at mo.ë:
(With mo.ë having been a generational effort, these thoughts only show my today’s feelings, and claim no completeness. It would be awesome to know about everyone else’s memories)