• arianna

A Little Look in Graz

To say I woke up to birds to chirping in Graz would be cliche, but also wildly true. The sun shone in, and I woke up to a beautiful little city. Though cloudy and still lightly raining, I set off to the contemporary art museum I had come to the city to see. The city had nicknamed the Kunthaus Graz, “The Alien”, as it stood out from the architect surrounding it. While Graz was full of warm colored building, aged with detail, the museum was sleek, dark and rounded.

Photo Courtesy of ArcSpace

Upon stepping inside the building and checking in, (which when studying in Europe be sure to bring a student ID card; my cost of admission went from 18 Euros to 3,50 Euros) I stepped onto the escalator moving up towards the second space. I thought it was super interesting how the escalators in the museum were flat, not stairs, which made the moving platform handicap accessible without having a second entrance. As I neared the second space, the entrance tunneled, and created a grand view of the exhibitions. The museum was spaced and organized so that all the pieces were spread out over a huge amount of space. Many pieces were stand alone, which gave way for patrons to walk around the entire pieces, including the pieces on paper/canvas.

I wandered through the museum, taken back and honestly speechless. The spacing of exhibits created a much more intense interpretation of the work, and I felt incredibly vulnerable and as though each piece was much more raw than pieces I had ever seen before. The museum also featured many works of art that incorporated neon light. One of them was shown alone surrounded by windows. The reflections were intriguing and the lights were distanced enough to walk in and around the work. As you moved, the piece’s form changed. Art is completely and entirely up for interpretation, as one person’s experiences and mind dictates how one perceives art, and I love art that so openly demonstrates this.

Gramz Kapfer | Maria Hüpf | 2018 | Courtesy des Künstlers

As I made my way back to the elevator to head back to the main floor, I saw another piece that explicitly showed this theory. Pictured below is a photo of a person’s back with the words, “Jeder hat seine eigene Ansicht” written across it. When I translated it, it came out as “Everyone has his own point of view”. I thought this was an especially interesting piece to have in a museum, as it is almost a reminder to people there: what you see, may not be what others see. I think it’s also wildly applicable in real life, as what you see, think, fell and experience, may not be what others do.

Jeder hat seine eigene Ansicht / Everyone Has His Own Point of View | Birgit Jürgenssen

I went a different way home from the museum, wanting to explore a little more, but also not get lost again. In doing so, I saw many secondhand shops and I was impressed with how high-end the shops still seems to look. The racks were very organized, and not overpacked. In the daylight, I was able to read and see how the street signs looked, and how they also corresponded with the streets themselves. Since being in Europe, I have found that even the smaller cities have an impeccable public transit system that makes it so easy to get from one place to another, even in the rain. About two blocks from my apartment there, I found a bakery shop that offer sandwiches as well. In Graz, I found the least amount of people spoke English, so I was frequently saying “Hallo,” to greet people, but not having much to say after that. That being said, I looked at the food offered, pointed to one and nodded, and she handed to me while telling met the price. I could not tell you what she said, but I knew it was obviously in euros, and vaguely thought the word resembled “nine,” so I had her 10 euros. In return she handed me back about 8 or 9 euros, and I laughed at the fact I was willingly about to spend 9 euros on a piece of bread (but also I thought it was a sandwich, so that was just a goofy moment). As I packed my belongings to ready for my departure, I ate the bread, and laughed. Even in a beautiful country, with a variety of food, I still managed to order cheese bread. I honestly was not sure what I ordered, but as I ate it, I loved it. A German friend of mine saw the picture, and she said I had ordered Käsebrötchen, and also approved the order.

I realized many of the other students I was meeting up with had already arrived at the hotel when I was still about 2.5 hours away. I walked over to the main station in Graz, and bought an earlier ticket to head to Vienna. But in doing this, I put myself on the train that was leaving in 3 minutes. Which was fine. Totally fine. I did not get on a train and off a train 4 separate times because I was unsure if I was on the wrong train. Nope, wasn’t me.

Joking, that was 210% me. I kept pressing the button to open the train doors, and I also realized later than “Wien” translates to “Vienna”, which is where the train said it was headed. At the time I did not know, so I proceeded to get into 3 different train cars, then run around like I didn't know what I was doing (because, LOL, I did not know what I was doing), until I found an employee that confirmed it was Vienna, and the light was flashing and I pressed a final button, and boarded. I sat in a row where the seats faced each other. I began writing the previous entry, again with pen and paper, and the woman across from me asked for an extra pen (first in German, then in English). I only had one pen, but I was also a sleepy traveller, so I gave her mine, and looked out the window as we travelled. We took turns using it, and we discussed what we were both doing. I noticed her notepad said “University of Graz,” so she shared more about what she does. At the University, she teaches Sociology, but she said the fun part is the research she is able to do with the university. Currently she is studying the cultures of schools in different countries. It was much deeper of a topic than I thought it might be, and we discussed the different incentives some countries offer teaches, while others offer the incentives to the students. She was a decent amount in-depth with the research, but she said nowhere near where she saw it going yet. We continued talking until we came to her stop, and mine followed right after that.

Arriving at the Wien Hbf, which is the Vienna Main Station was one of the absolute most overwhelming experiences of my life. Because of that, I will not be going through that mess of an experience. I will say that I ended up in an Uber with a driver who only spoke Dutch, but I ended up at the hotel where my classmates were awaiting me.

Our first night was incredible, and one of the best ways I could have thought to start the trip out. We began the week with a dinner held at the building held the mayor’s office. In the lower level, the ceiling somehow curved up in a concave fashion, with chandeliers and artwork painted on the top of the ceiling. We had a wonderful meal that ended with the best apple strudel I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.

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