DESIRE. CONTROL. TRANSGRESSION
Sex and the city. The relationship is as sensual as it is shocking and scandalous. Never had the forms and meanings attached to sex changed so radically than during the process of urbanization. The modern metropolis provided spaces of freedom, promised anonymity, and offered an outlet from social control. But the city also enabled novel modes of surveillance, resulting in new ways of disciplining and categorizing sex. Drawing on examples from the nineteenth century to the present, “Sex in Vienna” conveys how the constant struggle between freedom and repression continues to mark every moment of a sexual encounter – from the first glance to the proverbial cigarette after. Which forms of sexual desire could be acted out openly, and which ones only furtively? What consequences hung in the balance of each act or transgression? Ambiguities aside, moralistic sermons and police activity clearly failed to curb what took place in the city’s secluded bedrooms, secret spaces, and darkened corners.
What is clear despite the ambiguites is that neither moralistic sermons nor monitoring by the police was able to curb what took place in the city’s secluded bedrooms, secret spaces, and darkened corners.
An exhibition in partnership with QWIEN – Zentrum für schwul/lesbische Kultur Wien.
At Wien Museum Karlsplatz, 1040 Wien, from 15 September 2016 to 22 January 2017