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Pneumacosm

©Philippe Magnon

Pneumacosm, 1967-1971

Haus-Rucker-Co
  • Architects

An emblematic radical group of the Viennese scene in the 1960s and 1970s, Haus-Rucker-Co, focused from the outset on experimenting with the body, developing cognitive and sensitive spaces they utilized during performances in urban spaces. These events were designed to stimulate and free the conscience of spectators, enabling their minds to open up to another dimension. After Pneumocosm in 1967, Laurids Ortner and his team created the Mind Expander I, a veritable “instrument for perceiving the internal world.” In 1969, the group imagined a totally artificial environment, featuring electronic equipment, an inflatable “Divan of love,” equipped with a helmet and designed for two people, which enabled its occupants to reach a state of psychic ecstasy by means of electro-tactile stimuli. In Vienna in 1970, at the Museum of the 20th Century, they presented their Riesenbillard (“giant billiard”), an enormous pneumatic environment designed for 100 people, which they would later install in the middle of a city street in New York. Their critique of the idea of progress, industrialization and its consequences for the environment became increasingly virulent in the early 1970s. They imagined exhibition projects such as Cover: Shell around Haus Lange Museum (1971), enveloping the house designed by Mies van der Rohe in Krefeld with an inflatable structure in order to protect it from the effects of air pollution. Oase nr.7, an inflatable pod hooked to the façade of the building at Documenta V in 1972, remains an iconic image of the group’s critical and spectacular rapport with the city, always seeking new ways of dwelling in it.

In 1967, Haus-Rucker-Co was founded in Vienna by young architects and artists, Laurids Ortner (1941), Günter Zamp Kelp (1941) and Klaus Pinter (1940). In 1970-71, having been joined by Manfred Ortner (1943), Haus-Rucker-Co opened studios in Düsseldorf and New York, which then both became independent the following year (Haus-Rucker-Co and Haus-Rucker Inc.). After the breaking up of Haus-Rucker-Inc in 1977, Klaus Pinter began his practice as an artist and Caroll Michels became a writer. In 1987, independent studios were created by Laurids Ortner, Manfred Ortner in Vienna and Günter Zamp Kelp in Düsseldorf. The dissolution of Haus-Rucker-Co was officially declared in 1992 in Düsseldorf.