A sprawling artistic research project in the form of an online occupation, an essay and an artist book, Vaporous Evening Dresses draws on the transformations the Viennese publishing and fashion house Atelier Bachwitz has undergone since 1908—confiscation, restitution, restoration and reinstitution—translating backgrounds from illustrations found in their Chic Parisien catalogs into spatial models made from paper.
Displaced from the page, each model was made to be broken apart, turned around ad infinitum, and ultimately returned to the page or sibling screen. The process was initially thought of as a form of cultivating weeds; images endlessly growing from a single source, drawn and quartered into data, reactivating a portion of history within the present.
[...] In its current form, Palais des Beaux Arts Vienna is both a building and a website, each of which is largely represented through a catalog of views. Whether encountering it through a quick Google search or navigating the actual website, what can be readily experienced of the Palais is its compression into a strategic combination of text and image: immaterial, “future thinking art” in 400px wide columns of code. The real estate it occupies—including the cloud of data and name hanging above the entrance of the building—spreads across different formats, yet remains anchored in a branding strategy and website that acts as its public interface. In the past, the building was a site of production for widely circulated fashion catalogs and lifestyle magazines that asked viewers to perform an idea of place that was not only reproducible but consumable, and prompted a form of disembodied participation. Extending this legacy, the Palais des Beaux Arts allows visitors to browse through its catalog of projects, trying on contemporary art and its lifestyles as if they were garments.