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Soviet Unterzoegersdorf (Template:Lang-de) is a fictitious country created by the art/technology/theory group monochrom. It is the "last existing appanage republic of the USSR", located inside the Republic of Austria.
Debates triggered by postmodern culture have directed monochrom's attention towards questions of representation and relevance of "history" and stories. With Soviet Unterzoegersdorf a fictitious and misplaced handling of the past and the present is being discussed and put to use. In this regard, the project is also taking part in the production as well as the criticism of cultural and collective memories.
Monochrom transformed the basic theoretical concept into various projects.
Short film (1999)
A short film ("Der Installateur (bis 14:28)") about a plumber trying to cross the border of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf to repair a nuclear warm-water boiler.
Public theatre performances (2001 and 2002)
In 2001, ten years after the end of the Soviet Union, monochrom transformed the theoretical concept into an improvisational theatre/performance/LARP that lasted for a couple of days. They organized bus tours from Vienna to Unterzoegersdorf—a small Lower Austrian village that really exists—and acted the setting; beginning with the harsh EU Schengen border control.
In 2002 they staged the 55th anniversary of the Communist Party of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf. Among other things monochrom presented a computer called “Hyper Hegel” that was powered with burning wood and that would only run a low tech version of Tetris. Later “Hyper Hegel” was presented as an art installation in exhibitions.
Computer Game Series (2005-)
- Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector I
In 2005 monochrom presented the first part of a computer game trilogy: "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf - The Adventure Game" (using AGS). To monochrom it was clear that the adventure game would provide the perfect media platform to communicate the idea of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.
The first part of the game was very popular and was well received in the media. Edge (games magazine) chose the game as their 'internet game of the month' of November 2005. The back story of the adventure game series features the really existing Tumulus of Unterzoegersdorf.
- Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector II
Soviet Unterzoegersdorf: Sector II has been presented on December 28, 2008 at the 25th Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. The game features special guest appearances of Cory Doctorow, Bruce Sterling, Jello Biafra, Jason Scott, Bre Pettis and MC Frontalot. The game was released in March 2009 in San Francisco.
In 2008 monochrom staged a couple of public appearances of "His Excellency Ambassador of Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, Nikita Chrusov" in the USA. The "Ambassador" (played by monochrom member Johannes Grenzfurthner) visited a corporate afterparty of Disney.com at the Marriott Hotel in San Diego (part of O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference). He wanted to talk to executives about "the sugar-coated bullets" the corporation is firing at "his country" and other concepts of "cultural imperialism". The "Ambassador" got expelled from the party by Disney personnel. (Boing Boing TV link)
On September 11, 2009 the "Soviet Unterzoegersdorf Intelligence Corps" released a press statement referring to a pretty detailed list of Austrian civilian and military air traffic frequencies and recordings of two embarrassing conversations on Austrian police radio. (List)
- Interview with Johannes Grenzfurthner (monochrom) about 'Soviet Unterzoegersdorf'
- The Edge, Internet Game of the Monath, November 2005
- Socialismo, era tutto un gioco?
- Review, The Underdogs
- Neural: Soviet-Unterzögersdorf
- Boing Boing TV