Reiner Riedler
This Side of Paradise

"This Side of Paradise" is a photo project that has kept me busy for many years. For a long time it was just observations that I recorded, until these manifested themselves and led to a long-term project. A work about Austria, a mirror of the Austrian soul.

Since 2003 I have been photographing festivals/events in Austria, mass events that are less anchored in tradition, culture or in connection with the church, but are rather borne by the idea of event culture. As the antithesis of the folk festival, they have established themselves as a new form of leisure entertainment or utilise the potential of historical folk festivals, for example when Krampus festivals are held in places where they have never traditionally taken place. I am interested in these events as a free space in which social barriers and rules have been suspended, for example at the Vienna Danube Island Festival, the GTI meeting at Lake Wörthersee, ski races in Kitzbühel, Krampus festivals, bodybuilding events, erotic fairs and carnival events.

"No life is created in event culture, but life figurations, impressions that can also be expressed in the corresponding relationships. These are worlds of perception that have to replace the reality of human relationships, compensate for their pain. The experience of this culture is often the exclusive way of living relationships.
An event culture is a culture that is based on its events, which it organises with the political potential of its industry (e.g. the communications industry) and thereby entertains people in mass emotions. What can still be an expression of feelings in music, for example, becomes the production of a mass sense of self in event culture (see also emotional mass). It is an event culture that enables people to have a certain experience through the staging of events (see event production) and thus entertains them by supplying the material of the experience from prevailing self-perceptions that arise from interpersonal perceptible events (see e.g. music, scene or sport)."

Wolfram Pfreundschuh