„The Power of Color- all life matters“

World UNITY Week, June 20-27
“Answering the Call”

The “Global Pause” caused by the pandemic is uniting the world in new ways. Our opportunity to foster a genuine movement towards global unity has never been greater. Join us in the quest to co-create the new story and a more beautiful future for our shared home, Planet Earth and all those who inhabit it.

UNESCO Club Vienna: Global Citizen Platform – Uferhaus Klosterneuburg

The Uferhaus in Klosterneuburg is a popular spot for cyclists and nature lovers. The venue, on the shoreline of the Danube River was closed during the COVID-19 lockdown in Austria. During that time, it provided a point of sanctuary for solitary joggers and cyclists to take a break and sit beside the Danube river and enjoy the scenery of the Vienna Woods.

During this time, artist Christoph W. Band, transformed the grey of the terrace of Uferhaus into a kaleidoscope of shapes and strong primary colours. The terrace now stands as a 7×5 meter tribute to the resilience of the human spirit during lockdown. It reflects the leitmotiv that runs through Band’s art, namely, we are all connected.

Throughout World UNITY Week 22-27th of June 2020, visitors will be invited to select and to ‘occupy” a space defined by colour and borders.  An opportunity will be given to reflect upon and to exchange experiences on the psycho-social impact of the ‘lockdown’ and social distancing.

In this way, it is hoped to open up channels of discussion and discourse on the systematic exclusion of members and sections of humanity on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, education and wealth. And importantly to contribute to the way forward.

 

Summary of the interviews and discussions about the Covid 19 lockdown.

The setting of the Uferhaus provided a place for people to relax and to recover from the day to day stress of the pandemic, and the design of the artwork with its winding borders and colours was a subtle reminder to reconnect with friends while social distancing. 

At the start of the lockdown, persons were not allowed to visit parks or woodlands. This situation created problems in particular for older persons from the area who took long walks in nature to improve their immune system and benefit from the curative value of interaction with nature.

These restrictions, which were later lifted highlighted the intrinsic link between humanity, nature and the well-being of both. Persons spoke about the regeneration of nature, how it started to breathe and flourish during the lockdown – no aeroplanes in the sky!  

However, restrictions placed on social contact disproportionately impacted persons with mobility issues, physical or emotional challenges, individuals in care homes.  The disruption to extended family interaction and community emphasised the basic need of physical contact. There was no way to give a satisfying socially distanced HUG  however, it was understood that a friendly smile could cross and barriers, no matter how wide or how narrow the borders are and the differences between us.

The art project certainly facilitated contact and exchange of experiences. It is intended to bring the power of colour to other environments and in other formats.