Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat

Rn (2019)

Wellness has an uncanny past, as one sees in the new installation by Daniel Mann and Eitan Efrat. 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. After World War II this unusual mineshaft was repurposed into a therapeutic facility that is still in use, even if there are no proven health benefits. 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. Descending into Bad Gastein’s therapeutic mine shaft, they dig ever deeper into the landscape’s geological layers, opening the dominant timescales of modern history to much wider temporalities.


Forum Stadtpark
Stadtpark 1
8010 Graz
♿ Venue accessible for wheelchairs

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In English and German with German and English subitles

Free admission with Festival Pass

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’19
Supported by Flanders State of the Art

Film credits:
Executive Producer: Sirah Foighel Brutmann
Location manager: Christina Jauernik
Sound: Laszlo Umbreit
Production: Messidor, Brussels
Stone design and production: Sina Ahmadi

Archival footage: Thermalstollen Gastein-Böckstein, 1956, courtesy of the Heilstollen Health Center, Bad Gastein
Excerpts from a promotional video, 2009, courtesy of the Heilstollen Health Center, Bad Gastein

Dr. Martin Gaisberger, Head of the Research Institute Gastein and of the Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Universität Salzburg
Dr. med. Markus Ritter, Professor of Physiology, Director and Chairman of the Institute of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Universität Salzburg
Dr. Med Liane Weber, Physician, medical doctor, Heilstollen, Bad Gastein
Prof. Dr. Fritz Gruber, Historian, Bad Gastein

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Daniel Mann (1983, Tel Aviv) is a filmmaker and researcher whose work investigates the circulation of images in the context of colonialism and armed conflict. His films combine archival documents and found footage with fiction, myth, and historical anecdote to explore the construction of political narratives. Mann lives in London.

Eitan Efrat (1983, Tel Aviv) is an artist working in video, film, installation, and painting. His practice focuses on reading the performativity of still and moving images, and the relation between spectatorship and history. Efrat lives in Brussels.