Temporary memorial to the LGTB victims of the Nazi regime
“With the installation Faggot on Vienna’s Morzinplatz, the artist Jakob Lena Knebl presents a temporary memorial to the homosexuals, lesbians, and trans-gender persons persecuted and murdered under the Nazi regime. He/she deliberately relies on discriminating terms such as “schwule Sau” (faggot) or “Mannweib” (bulldagger) used disparagingly and deprecatorily in everyday language. He/She employs these terms in the sense of Judith Butler’s view of the political discourse asperformative and her hate speech concept, turns himself and his body into an exhibition and projection surface, and confronts the public in his installation. By appropriating the terms, he/she deprives them of their offensive impact to which homosexuals, lesbians, and trans-gender persons are exposed to and forestalls her vis-à-vis’s verbal insults against herself.
Thanks to the aestheticized form of the installation drawing on the design language of Modernism and Midcentury Modernism, Jakob Lena Knebl succeeds in attracting the public’s interest through the “beautiful and good” form of his intervention. He/she describes the approach as “trickery” – as something that pretends to be something else than the actual content and thus worms itself into the viewers’ attention.
That this worming into people’s consideration is still necessary today makes the installation not only a memorial to the victims of National Socialism, but also to those persons who are still persecuted by intolerance, hate, and professed lack of under-standing today.
Results of acts of vandalism against the installation will not be removed. They will be regarded as part of the work illustrating how present-day and necessary the debate is which it triggers.