atlas. axis. eine subtile kommunikation


Pressetext April 2017



Vertebrae in the City – atlas. axis. a subtle communication

An art project in the public space by Sylvia Kummer

Two places in the Inner City of Vienna, the Freyung and the Graben, will be the site for the two sculptures by the visual artist Sylvia Kummer: atlas and axis – large scale representations of the human cervical vertebrae – aim to provide a platform for challenging perceptions, a vivid exchange of ideas and new perspectives.

Press presentation – atlas. axis. a subtle communication

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 10 am, meeting place: Freyung (in front of the Palais Ferstel),

1010 Vienna

With: Sylvia Kummer, visual artist and project initiator

RA Dr. Georg Prantl, Chairman of the Otto Mauerfonds

O. Univ. Prof. Dr. Burghart Schmidt, art and cultural philosopher

We ask for registration at or +43 699 100 88 057

The sculptures will be installed on several sites:

April 27th – May 7th, 2017: Freyung and Graben

May 8th – May 28th, 2017: Jodok-Fink-Platz (also known as Piaristenplatz) in 1080 Vienna

May 29th – June 6th, 2017: intersection Mariahilferstraße/ Neubaugasse (Bundesländesplatz) in 1060 Vienna

June 7th – June 12th, 2017: Place of Human Rights (Platz der Menschenrechte) in 1070 Vienna

Information regarding the individual sites can be found in the program guide.

atlas. axis. a subtle communication

Through the project atlas. axis. a subtle communication, the visual artist Sylvia Kummer invites to a multi-faceted debate on the topic of communication and cooperation. Two large scale sculptures of the human cervical atlas and axis, prominently placed in the public domain, symbolize the importance of two small parts for the grand scheme of things. Only the subtle communication of these two wholly differently built vertebrae, makes a functioning of the human organism possible. A small displacement or disturbance is sufficient to weaken the organism or break it down.

„The interaction of the two cervical vertebrae is a metaphor for the fragility of vital communication. The connection atlas-axis has enormous symbolic power for a common co-operation and for the necessity to accept differences and to feel enriched“, says the artist Sylvia Kummer.

The sculptures stimulate optical and haptic exploration: from the close up and from different perspectives, visitors can view and touch the sculptures atlas. axis. How we deal with disclosing the most vulnerable part of our being in a public space is one of the many questions that Sylvia Kummer poses with her interactive art project: „For me, the vertebral bodies symbolize the innermost of each individual and provide a template for dealing with our own body as well as with our society. How do we treat each other? How important are the things that we do not see but which determine our lives? Do we recognize the value that diversity has for our lives?“ asks Sylvia Kummer.

Anyone who encounters the great white sculptures atlas. axis. in the first district, can use the QR code to get web information about the project and is invited to reflect upon its significance and one’s impressions.

atlas. axis. on journey and an interdisciplinary autumn symposium

The installation will be shown in further locations.

Details can be found in the program preview. The presentations in the sixth and seventh district of Vienna are held in cooperation with Basis.Kultur.Wien.

As a connecting link to the project, a dialogue series with international artists will take place at the individual presentations of atlas. axis. – e.g. in June 2017, among others, as part of the Ottakring festival. Information can also be found in the program preview.

The sculptures will then embark the journey through Austria and, among other places, will be installed in Gut Gasteil (Lower Austria) – well known for „art in the landscape“. Also at the art festival in Yogyakarta (Indonesia) is Sylvia Kummer invited with her project atlas. axis. Thus the idea of subtle communication is also carried further into the world.

At the individual sites, a supporting program will be accompanied by the experts from different disciplines (philosophy, medicine, communication science, …), interactive projects and performative guided tours.

Sylvia Kummer is organizing an interdisciplinary symposium in Vienna in September 2017, following lectures, discussions and presentations in order to processing the topic of atlas. axis.

The following persons have already confirmed as speakers and participants of the symposium and dialogues:

Carl Aigner (art historian and director of the national museum), Ursula Baatz (philosopher and journalist), Angela Csoka (visual artist), Berthold Ecker (MA7, visual art), Thomas Fillitz (cultural and social anthropologist), Ingrid Greisenegger, journalist for Ecology, and economics,

Gerlinde Maria Gruber (Center for Anatomy and Cell Biology), Renate Höllwart (Art and Culture Interpreter), Thomas Hölzenbein (Specialist in General Surgery and Visceral Surgery), Philipp Oberlohr, illusionist and performer, Victoria Rabal (Director of the Paper Museum in Capellades, Barcelona), Peter Ramsebner (visual artist) Lissie Rettenwander (musician), Burghart Schmidt (art and cultural philosopher), Elke Smodics (communication curator), Christiane Spatt, visual artist, Dr. Robert Trappl, head of the Austrian research institute for artificial intelligence.

The texts of the speakers are summarized in a constantly growing publication. These collected documentations and receptions will be presented for the first time at the symposium.

About the artist

Sylvia Kummer is a visual artist who focuses on interdisciplinary projects and views of cultural and social anthropology, but also integrates medical aspects into her works. The body is viewed as a space for perception: Only the inner perception also opens up the space outside.

Sylvia Kummer is a graduate of the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Her artistic work has always linked her to research and teaching at international universities, including France, Canada, Australia, USA, China. She took part on several biennials, e.g. in Kuba, Senegal, or in Marokko. She wrote her dissertation „(Im-) Possible Places – between art and ethnography“ at the Institute for Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Vienna.

Curator Silvie Aigner describes Sylvia Kummer as „… a traveler – even if she is not in remote areas of the world, she explores the places of her immediate working environment – to gather stories, to question social connotations, to reveal them and to reveal hidden elements and bring them to the surface.“