Emergency Exit (2015)

Emergency Exit (2015)

Emergency Exit flags

From September 25th until October 9th 2015 two flags were raised on the masts of the Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Art History) at Vienna’s Maria-Theresien square.

Text accompanying the Installation:
The meaning of escape route signs as well as that of flags is determined by conventions. Flags represent countries, administrative units, and organisations. Escape route signs provide guidance in cases of emergency. When unified, their meaning starts to ’flutter’. It is not defined to whom a way out is shown nor who is showing it or to where it leads. Emergency exits must be ‘flagged’ unequivocally. Any vagueness can have fatal consequences. The indication of an emergency exit that depends on the wind and is hence anywhere and nowhere reduces this principle to absurdity. At the same time, a fluttering emergency exit flag will hardly mark any territory.
Being presented at the Long Day of Flight and with respect to the current debates surrounding issues of refugees, asylum (politics) and migration, the work appears automatically within a distinct political context. There are, however, other ways to look at the work as well. The flags may also be understood as a metaphor for how quickly wind, fate and routes can change. Furthermore, they are also a semiotic game, an irritation in public space, and an interrogation of emblems and demarcation.