Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria
May 11, 2008

Linda took part in the main installation and a smaller installation the following morning:

Photo © by Linda
The weather was perfect for a ST installation, sunny and around 23 degrees Celsius. My German ST friend Helmut (who I met at the Amsterdam installation) and I found our way to the stadium and arrived around 1:15 pm at the entrance. There were not that many people at that time and we wondered if ST would get his 2008 participants... 

The media was already present, in the beginning it seemed that there was more press then participants I gave a brief interview to 2 camera teams but I haven’t seen any of it on tv or the internet. 

The atmosphere was great, I always find that the people who meet each other at a ST installation seem to bond very quickly. I was so excited (butterflies in my stomach) and  had a big smile on my face! Within 45 minutes the crowd grew fast and when the doors opened at 2 pm there was a big queue in front of the entrance.

We received a t-shirt (not a ST t-shirt, too bad!) and were directed to a seat in a section in the stadium. We were directed to the first row in the stadium, a perfect place to see all the people entering the stadium. Between every participant there were 3 empty seats to evenly spread the crowd over several sections of the stadium. It took some time to place all the participants… 

At one point Spencer thanked us for participating and explained the rules – same as always: be patient, don’t take your clothes off before he says so, hide your bags and clothes behind the seats etc. Around 4 pm we started with the first installation, standing on the seats with our face toward the camera (which was placed on the soccer field). 

Photo © Reuters

Photo © by Linda
In total we had more then 10 installations (I didn’t count them), we moved around in the stadium a bit and got chilly after the first hour… Before it all started I was afraid I would get a sunburn but it turned out that we were in the shade all the time, except for a short while when we had to wait. With the last installations I was beginning to shiver from the cold… By then it was already 8:30 pm – we were naked for almost 4.5 hours in a row…

After the last installation (only women) Spencer asked some women to participate in an ‘individual’ installation the next day, you had to be in their hotel at 5 am… He didn’t asked me at first but when I asked him I was welcome to participate.

At the exit they sold the soccer balls with the special ST print (pictures of earlier installations, people naked in front or back)  they used in a the last installations, I couldn’t resist and bought one (front). 

After an exciting day and just 4 hours of sleep it was time to get up again… The group participants for this early installation was a mix of around 10 men and 10 women. We got on a bus, drove just around the corner of the hotel for the first installation with the men. We women satyed in the bus so we didn’t see all that happened but it was on a normal city street and they used netted soccer goals as accessories. After the first installation Spencer said goodbye to half of the men and we drove to another location for the women installation. The nets were arranged between 2 traffic signs and we women stood behind them with our bodies pushed against it. When a car passed the passengers must have been surpirsed at what they saw.

After this installation Spencer said goodbye to me and a few other women, our adventure was over. I would have loved to stay longer but I’m very happy that I had this chance to be part of this smaller and more intimate installation. Also great is that we will receive a print from this installation as well.

Photo © by Linda
My admiration for Spencer’s art is the main reason to participate in these installations, besides my search for adventure and the feeling to be part of an exceptional event - this installation gave me just that!

Stephane writes:

It was my 9th experience with Spencer (the first was in Harlem NY 2000), and it was certainly the longest and most intense. I had a great time, although certain positions were very difficult for my 72-year old body and the titanium rod blocking 8 vertebrae. But  other people were very helpful - my friend Peter helped me as always, but perfect strangers showed great kindness too. I also took part in an installation on Monday at 5am in the streets of Vienna with the goal nets, it was great fun and the look of the car drivers passing us was priceless. Some of the settings really took a very long time but I did not mind, Spencer is a perfectionist with a clear vision of the pose he wants to do. I have admired his work for 10 years, I consider him a fantastic artist. 
Photo: © Reuters
Photo: © DPA
Steve writes:

Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna could be the scene of Spencer's best work yet. Having taken part in 10 shoots now, my personal favorite was the pyramid shot taken at Dusseldorf, however one of the shots we did which took ages to set up could surpass this: the effect Spencer was after was a gigantic tidal wave using us and the blue seats of the stadium. At the bottom of the seats, the wave started with one or two people building up to a few hundred people in the top tier. I'm hoping for a print of this and also to see this shot blown up as I could easily imagine this being ten to twenty feet high.


From Henry:

Photo: © Reuters
Some months ago I read about this planned installation in the newspaper. I am generally interested in art so I looked about for information on Spencer Tunick. I thought that there would not be another chance in my lifetime to take part in such an art installation, so I decided to take part. I live in the western part of Austria and travelled to Vienna for the installation. There was an interesting mix of people of different ages and I think also professions. 

I was surprised that the installations took such a long time, we were told "you will be naked only for a short time". After several hours it began to get colder and the information coming over the loudspeakers was not easy to understand. Some older men and women had problems with the more acrobatic movements and positions - the worst one was for the V-position where we had to lie across two chairs to cover the seats. This seemed to be painful not only for me but for others as well, and after a few minutes you could see the marks on peoples' backs.

After all it was an very interesting experience and I wouldn't have wanted to miss it. It is also interesting for me to read the reactions and discussions about the installation in the local and international press. After the installation I bought all the important Austrian newspapers to read the comments and to look at the pictures.

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