Cities on the Move II

"Cities on the Move" by Rudi Molacek

It is the imperative of our time: Move! The movement of people, goods and news is accelerating ever faster. When, for the seventh poster subject from museum in progress for Austrian Airlines in cooperation with gewista, Rudi Molacek presents the suction of movement and speed, he is choosing a central motif of the present and, at the same time, an image – in both senses of the word – which makes up the essence and definition of an airline. His theme is more than the speed of travel, it is the speed with which our perception collides with the visual surface of the unfamiliar. The setting is Shanghai, an everyday scene: a crowd moving through the traffic on motorbikes, mopeds and bicycles under the concrete supports of a city motorway. In the flow of traffic, a quick photo comes into being which has little in common with conventional travel reporting. It rather makes us think that information is being made available. Who is going where and why? It looks as if these are journeys to work and that their successful completion depends on the various two-wheelers of the megacity. Nobody takes any notice of the traveller and his camera. However, we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by his suggested absence. Whoever can read his coded clue in the picture will find out something about the photographer – about his relationship to the situation, to the people in the shot, to the city and to the foreign culture. He is also a part of the crowd but also clearly distances himself from it. His viewpoint is deeper – the privilege of being wealthy and/or foreign is seen the by fact that he is sitting in the back seat of a car. His angle of view is at a tangent to that of the uniform direction in which the other travellers are looking. Luxury travel – to be chauffeured, to be free to allow one's gaze to wander. This gaze is not looking for the exotic but rather includes, with unspectacular presence of mind, the significant constellation; a moment in which the flow of traffic made up of people and machines intersects with the architecture of the city to produce an image of a cathedral of the 21st century. A photo in contrast to the travel supplement. Asia is neither pinned down with its picturesque tradition nor depicted as a flashing techno wonderland. The same applies to photography and looking; the decisive factor is not that what is seen is extraordinary nor the speed of the reaction but rather only the substance of the thought which generates what is perceived. A photo from the back seat of a car in Shanghai – on 3,000 billboards in Vienna. Two different dynamics crash together, cultural differences in everyday city life become visible. A different subject which has not been smoothed at the edges and plays on the fact that it is unadapted – in direct comparison to carefully set up product presentation and to the ubiquitous travel advertising at the turn of the year. But this alone is not sufficient. For the medium of the poster the photo has been digitally processed, mirrored, stretched, divided up and put together again in various series. A photo has been accelerated and speeds through the comfortable city.