Like Seen on the Screen. The Media and our Environment

Project Funding: Sparkling Science
Project Duration: 01.09.2010–30.09.2012
Project Lead: Siegfried Mattl (LBIGG)
Project Team (LBIGG): Karin Fest; Michael Loebenstein; Christiana Perschon; Marie-Noëlle Yazdanpanah
Artistic Collaboration: Gustav Deutsch, Hanna Schimek (artist, D&S); von automatisch werkstätten (database and web design)
Project Collaborators (schools): Rainer Holzfeind (Theresian Academy); Stefan Neugebauer (Theresian Academy); Susanne Pieringer (GWIKU 18 Haizingergasse); Silja Topfstedt (GWIKU 18 Haizingergasse)
Project Partners: Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society (LBIGG); Austrian Film Museum; GWIKU 18 Haizingergasse – grammar school and economics high school with a media focus; Theresian Academy

“What do documents of the past have to do with me and my city?”

In the project “Like Seen on the Screen”, students from two school classes worked with rare cinematic documents about Vienna. In particular, hardly explored amateur films from the Austrian Film Museum were examined, which provide fascinating insights into the past of the city and its inhabitants. The preoccupation with earlier everyday and living habits, which comes to light in the “moving images” of the film, made it possible to experience the history, present and future of our urban environment. What significance do private testimonies of a cinematic kind have for generating a sense of community? To what extent can the examination of past practices as they appear in a film lead to a future-oriented reflection on the public space of a community?

Access to historical documents and cooperation with scholars and artists gave students the opportunity to deal with methods of contemporary history, cultural and media studies, geography and social studies. Through city walks, mental mapping, film analysis, archival research, interviews and creative media production (films produced by students are to be found on the online portal StadtFilmWien), they acquired skills to critically engage with public and private, present and past spaces. The researchers in turn benefited from the media competence and spontaneous perception of the students and gained new insights in the field of visual history.

The knowledge they acquired was put into practice creatively in the exhibition “Wien am Screen. Eine filmische Spurensuche von SchülerInnen” and applied to the city as it is today.

Project goals

1. to develop a critical MEDIA COMPETENCE, the pupils learn methods of film analysis and description and combine them with their subjective perception and own media use.
2. a conscious city perception through mapping, city walks and creative appropriation, which makes the students recognise their city as a space with past, present and future that we can influence and that influences ourselves.
3. HISTORICAL AWARENESS: Interviews with contemporary witnesses, archival research, museum visits and creative work with documents provide an awareness of the historicity of the students’ immediate topographical environment.

“From cinematographs to GPS-enabled camera phones: young people experience their living environment in a highly medialised way. The creative handling of film documents about Vienna teaches scientific skills and creates higher social participation opportunities through knowledge of their own local history.”
(Siegfried Mattl)

School partners
Students of the 6B of the Theresian Academy (Vienna); students of the 6C of the Haizingergasse grammar school and secondary school for economics (with a focus on media).

Participating students Theresian Academy
Julius Abel / Angela Bounthong / Christine Eckel / Daniel Fonatti / Anna Gaggl / Philip Gahler / Tanja Girschele / Anja Grüll / Ingrid Hampe / Paulin Heinrich / Andrea Horvath / Stoyana Ivanova / Ji- Soo Kim / Maxim Lebedev / Matthias Lembacher / Sophie Lembacher / Angela Liu / Constantin Maetz / Claudia Moscynski / Adam Ottrubay / Noah Schermann / Konstantin Schober / Christina Strohschneider / Johanna Tichy / Katharina Vacek

Participating teachers Theresian Academy
Rainer Holzfeind / Stefan Neugebauer

Participating students Haizingergasse
Markus Berger / Lucia Gamper / Mario Franz Hanousek / David Hasko / Lukas Iberer / Dominique Marie Korbel / Sarah Yolanda Koss / Lorenz Willi Kunath / Elena Lanmüller / Lilly Felicitas Loibl / Martina Mikl / Marija Milosavlejic / Alina Nuria Pacher / Nikolai Johannes Patzak / Jakob Maximilian Pusch / Maria Schneider / Maria Standfest / Masa Stanic / Lisa Steinmetz / Marvin Taucher / Daniel Patrik Vrana / Hannah Wiener- Withalm / Hannes Winkelmann

Participating teachers Haizingergasse
Susanne Pieringer / Silja Topfstedt

Project Portal
a. Image: Street scene (Matzleinsdorfer Umgang) © Austrian Film Museum