Karl’s Body is an illuminated snake, with the body of a zig-zag. Serving as both a sign and a statement, the image of the snake takes up an old dialectic relationship between the mind and the body. This dialogue is symbolized in metaphoric folklore as the eagle and the snake. The eagle is the mind, the heavens, the conceptual. The snake is the body, the earth, the physical. As Kunsthalle Wien Museum Quartier has adopted the image of the eagle, I found it fitting that Karlsplatz become the snake. Mind and Body are always in dialogue, yet have distinct and different relationships to the everyday. The sculpture for Karlsplatz points to the sites relationship with the larger Kunsthalle Wien at Museum Quartier, while representing the autonomy of the Karlsplatz site and its location within the city and the surrounding local community, most notably Heuer am Karlsplatz, the restaurant and bar occupying a portion of this location.
The sculpture is made using a simple string of LED lights. Often used by small businesses for decoration and promotion, it is widely available throughout the city and elsewhere. In this sense, the material is a vernacular one; affordable and easy to use, it can be manipulated to tell many different stories by the individual using it. The zig-zag portion of the sign, as Karl’s Body is in fact a zig-zag, refers to a pattern I employ to signify dialogue. Using a line, a zig-zag describes the back and forth movement between a series of dots, a stripe recording a dialogue occurring between two people.