In 2014, Bernhard Garnicnig came across the Palais des Beaux Arts in Vienna’s third district on his way to the supermarket. At first struck by its ornate presence and the two sculptural globes on its roof that bear an uncanny resemblance to browser icons and dot.com logos, Garnicnig began to dig into the building’s history with the help of Herr Schleiffer (an antiquarian from across the street) and Eva-Maria Mandl (a cultural historian that grew up in the surrounding neighborhood).
Motivated by a desire to explore new forms of collaboration and rewrite the dynamics of institution-artist relationships, Garnicnig then began reinstituting the Palais des Beaux Arts by experimenting with how the building’s facade and historic graphic identity might comprise the surface of an institution, using a website to express and further format the project as a kind of site-non-site. From then on, until 2018, he built a commissioning program for digital art and theory. The commissioned artworks were accessible only on a local wireless network around the building, and mediated through guided tours and workshops.