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But, of course ! Everybody and his uncle sent me this humdinger as we bid auf wiedersehen to Halloween and turn the corner into the season of perpetual twilight. This is the new WirWasser (WeWater) fountain in Vienna, Austria, supposedly celebrating the 150th anniversary  of the city’s water system. The city’s own website (English version) puts it this way:

WirWasser is a fountain sculpture – fountain and sculpture in one. The fountain basin is formed by a circle of figures, in the center of which a fountain – illuminated daily with a different color – shoots up into the air.”

So simple, a five-year-old can understand it. The water, you see, shoots up in the air. But, exactly !

The design and execution of the €1.9 million extravaganza was done by the artist’s collective known as gelitin (formerly Gelatin) including Ali Janka, Florian Reither, Tobias Urban, and Wolfgang Gantner. The quartet has a long list of installations of the Stunt-and-Clutter school of ironic art — that is, works intended to shame and humiliate the institutions that pay for them, thus proving that Western Civ utterly lacks conviction.

For a 2018 show at Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the artists filled a sprawling gallery with giant artificial turds. The catalog for the show included the following artists’ credo:


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

10 Responses to “November 2023”

  1. docmartin November 4, 2023 at 5:57 pm #

    Pla-doh and a shit show.How lovely.

    • pamaviw461 November 29, 2023 at 3:52 pm #

      nice post, really

  2. KappaJoe November 4, 2023 at 6:51 pm #

    It could be worse. Instead of a fountain that “shoots up into the air” it might shoot down into the ground or sideways into your kneecaps.

    The verbal explanation of these expensive, hideous public art installations are invariably a hoot.

  3. tom clark November 4, 2023 at 7:33 pm #

    The city’s water system may be 150 years old but is the water safe to drink? Details, details…

  4. tucsonspur November 5, 2023 at 3:33 am #

    I picture the great Roman fountains in my mind’s eye, like the Trevi or the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi and I shudder at this hideous, cheap looking creation, ready to piss into its pathetic pool.

    The figures around the pool are lame and lifeless, dull and dreary.

    Let the populace poop into its pool and stink up this fatuous fountain.

  5. JackStraw November 6, 2023 at 4:41 am #

    The Islamists will have great fun destroying that when they take over soon.

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    • JimInFlorida2.0 December 3, 2023 at 9:45 am #

      Inshallah and Allahu Akbar!

      Western Civ once had it all. But, because of cowardice, it must now be put in an Islamic body-cast for a very long time until it can heal… if it can.

  6. Chris at Fernglade Farm November 7, 2023 at 7:06 am #

    Hi Jim,

    No matter which way I look at the fountain, I just don’t like it.



  7. Dr. Coyote November 9, 2023 at 1:20 pm #

    My goodness, how… special. Bless their hearts.

    At least they didn’t dye the water a nasty yellow color. Though that would have been entirely consistent with the overall theme of their works.

  8. VeldesX November 11, 2023 at 11:09 am #

    Hair-raisingly ghastly though this composite concrete horror is, we must remember that this is Vienna, city of music — not of visual genius. After all, it is the proud home of Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, whose various Häuser in Vienna and other ctiies across Austria and Germany are celebrated by the elites of the Avant-Garde — and studiously avoided by people with taste… like me. No visit to Vienna is supposed to be complete without a visit to the Hundertwasserhaus. Somehow, I managed to do so, and feel quite fulfilled, thank you very much.

    This is the city that approved the construction of the ultra-modernistic glass coffin known as the Haas-Haus directly opposite a medieval masterpiece of Gothic construction, the Stefansdom. Who but the Vienna city council would defile the centuries by throwing the same facade one can find in any Moscow car dealership right in the heart of the city’s most storied and beautiful square?

    This is nothing new. Viennese architects led the world in nerve-shattering dehumanizing structures during its social housing building boom in the 1920s. Designed to alleviate acute housing shortages dating back decades, the many high-rises funded by the communist and socialist parties demonstrated to their constituents just what they thought of them: rats in a very big and ugly trap. The only improvements the state made to the monstrosity known as the Karl-Marx-Hof was adding ventilation to the façade via artillery bombardment during the brief civil war in 1934.

    Going further back, one only need to traipse over to the Hofburg Palace where the Emperors dwelled to discover this sort of blindness has been part of the city council’s job description for a good long time. The Looshaus designed by Adolf Loos was built in 1910 and scandalized Vienna society by its stark blandness and reinforced concrete. Contemporary critics just loved it, but the Emperor did not, and reportedly kept the Hofburg’s curtains drawn so he should not have to gaze upon its stark ugliness.

    Loos was a pioneer of minimalist modernism, or what I call Architects for Idiocracy. We can thank him for all those concrete boxes in every European downtown which used to be called bunkers but now are called inspired works of genius.

    One can go back even further in time to uncover some of Vienna’s shameful failures of artistic taste. The Pestsäule, for example, celebrated the end of the plague and was inaugurated in 1694. One can only imagine that a monument of such wretched taste was conceived to scare away any future outbreaks of disease. It certainly wasn’t designed with bringing cheer to one’s senses.

    No, Vienna has its fair share of fabulous architecture and monuments of art, but also an overabundance of failures that is unequaled in any other city of such size and history.

    I guess that’s how they like it…!