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Epidemie der Trägheit

'Epidemic of Inertia'
sound recording, subway system
paraflows 09 - Urban Hacking, Vienna 2009

“Yawning is a surprisingly powerful act. Just because you read the word ‘yawning’ … a good number of you will probably yawn within the next few minutes.”[1] Using the central junction of the Karlsplatz as its epicenter this project embarks on a mission of subliminal contagion. Through the subway station’s sound system, recorded yawns emanate the space to cause a slight change of the prevailing mood. Advertisement, be it in the form of billboards, TV commercials or stickers on a urinal, eventually boils down to the transference and propagation of messages by word-of-mouth. No other catalyst to information is more effective than an individual who, as its host, is inclined to infect others. The onomatopoeia of yawning, stripped of any meaning leads to no definite purpose besides perhaps the suggestion of a great lethargy that seems to be creeping through the communicative channels of our system. Nonetheless, once infected we cannot help but announce our emotional condition, thereby transmitting it to those around us. The connective tissue of information exchange is exposed as a means to it’s own end. The utopian aim of this exercise could only be an epidemic of inertia.

[1] Malcom Gladwell (2000), THE TIPPING POINT, How little things can make a big difference Great Britain, Abacus 2nd reprint (2008), pp.10-11