Traverso la Città

Intervention, Performance
Public Space, Graz, AUT, 2020

As part of Kulturjahr Graz 2020

Images by
Julia Gaisbacher

With the project Traverso La Città, Rainer Prohaska transformed the urban space with performative essays on the future of Graz. These interventions were realized at several locations in public space in Graz and dealt with social and ecological changes of cities. The inhabitants were directly exposed to the performative discourse on the urban future in a humorous way as they made their everyday journeys through the urban landscape.

Traverso La Città consisted of five performative modules that addressed mobility in the broadest sense. This involved interventions with mobile elements on the streets of Graz as well as modules that took place in the Mur.


The German expression "ROLLFÄHRE" means in English "Reaction Ferry", a special type of a "Cable Ferry". This type of ferry is using the currency of a river to move from one river shore to the opposite shore. This currency driven method works without any external energy or engine power. A temporary and manually operated rope ferry offered a thoughtful and contemplative form of transportation for the audience.
This ROLLFÄHRE was installed in the city center of Graz near beside the "Augarten". Passengers were encouraged by the project team to recite essays thematically related to this module during the crossing. Located on a temporary pontoon on the opposite side of the "Augarten", Stefan Schmitzer was performing a reading session.

In collaboration with Anita Fuchs


For the module SCULPTURES EN FLUX the team of "Traverso La Città" built seven sculptures out of inflatable objects, which are normally used for a bathing day. In the center of these floating sculptures was an inflatable boat, with which a "pilot" maneuvered the sculpture in from the Mursteg near the Kunsthaus Graz to the Augarten Bay. Once in the Augartenbucht, the pilots towed the inflated object back to the Mursteg to once again navigate the Mur. In the process, the individual floats were choreographed differently for each "drift". The audience could watch the action in the Mur from the shore.


The route of this urban space walk led from Marienplatz to Schaubad along the visible and partly invisible Mühlgang, a tributary of the Mur. The essays, delivered over "walking" loudspeakers, were based on real and fictional stories connected to the Mühlgang and to the urban development of Graz.

During this tour, the audience functioned as a collective body. Framed by a belt, the people formed special geometric shapes that were captured photographically and on video as "objects" for post-production.

In collaboration with Stefan Schmitzer and Jürgen Gerger


For the CHARIOTS OF SADNESS campaign, two exclusive SUVs were rented and converted into carts, comparable to Roman chariots. According to the definition of the Austrian Road Traffic Regulations, a carriage is a "vehicle which, according to its purpose, is moved by people or animals". In the case of the "Chariots", the SUVs were each moved by 8 people through the Graz district around Eggenberg Castle as part of a street performance. The audience could admire the two driving sculptures, but also participate in pulling the objects.


SIESTA FÜR GRAZ invited the residents of Graz to spontaneous "Siestas". The team of "Traverso La Cittá" built 24 pieces of furniture, which were moved through the city. These objects spontaneously formed themselves at suitable locations into an outdoor living room and bedroom with a kitchenette provided. In the process, formations or combined objects were created that invited both the people involved and passers-by to linger, chat, sleep and drink tea. After the respective siesta actions, the components were dissolved again and moved to the next location, where they were combined to form another formation.

Artistic Team

Rainer Prohaska - concept / artistic direction/graphics
Carola Schmidt - performance/sound / staging
Stefan Schmitzer - texts & essays/performance / staging
Jürgen Gerger - performance / staging
Anita Fuchs - Rollfähre representative

Production Team

Sabrina Stadlober - costumes
Florian Sorgo - production / set-up / media
Bernhard Werschnak - production / permissions
Julia Gaisbacher -  photography