Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’19
Supported by Flanders State of the Art
Executive Producer: Sirah Foighel Brutmann
Location manager: Christina Jauernik
Sound: Laszlo Umbreit
Production: Messidor, Brussels
Stone design and production: Sina Ahmadi
Through films and objects, it tells of a Heilstollen (healing tunnel) near the southern Austrian spa town of Bad Gastein, originally dug with forced labor in 1942 by the Nazis in an effort to find rumored deposits of gold. Instead of gold they discovered temperatures of over forty degrees Celsius and high concentrations of radon, a radioactive gas assumed to be beneficial to the treatment of rheumatism and other ailments.
Mann and Efrat move beyond the sublime beauty of the Austrian mountains—whose glorification classically stands for national spirit, whiteness, and, possibly, fascism—to explore and subvert them as cultural and physical material. Through shifts in scale from microscopic imagery of the body to the enormity of the mountain terrain, they challenge the body-landscape relations and the reverent weaponization of nature particular to Nazi biopolitics.