Great Vienna Auto-Expander, 1969

The Great Vienna Auto-Expander was a simple exercise handed out by professor Karl Schwanzer to his students at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna, involving the construction of a garage close to the Karlplatz in Vienna. Zünd-Up reinterpreted the programme to depict a critical representation of society. The Auto-Expander was presented like a gigantic pinball machine set up in the downtown area, exploiting the fascination of the masses with the automobile, in order to prompt the public to have a different experience. For the same project, they devised a racing car—a dragster—which would fly over two tubes 20 meters in height above the Kärntnerstrasse, and end its trajectory in a parachute placed on the roof of St. Stephen’s cathedral. Zünd-Up planned to modify the car’s bodywork by increasing the number of decorative themes, and then destroy the vehicle “just like in a Destroy Game, turning it into a little package to be taken home and buried in the garden”. When the project was unveiled it caused a sensation: in an underground car park, the group transformed the presentation of the plans and models into a multimedia show, and invited 40 members of the Harley Davidson and Norton clubs to make the “roar of the century”.

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