In the early 2000s, notorious Austrian art group monochrom decided to have a little fun with the spirit of Ostalgie
(nostalgia for the Soviet era), the cultural whiplash from the sudden
collapse of the Soviet Union a decade earlier. monochrom founder
Johannes Grenzfurthner, having been born well after the USSR ceded East
Austria in 1955, realized he knew nothing about the Soviet occupation of
his hometown, the tiny rural hamlet of Unterzoegersdorf, aside from the
hyperbolic, implausibly demonic stories his grandmother had told him
when he was young. He was curious about that era, but the older
generation was unwilling to talk. (Considering the shame of Anschluss
followed by ten years of Soviet annexation, could anyone blame them? As
Grenzfurthner himself put it, “We Austrians are known for two things:
Classical music and mass murder.”) Leave the past behind, they said. No
one wants to remember Soviet Unterzoegersdorf.
iconoclast that he was, would not let the subject go. So he and the rest
of monochrom came up with an idea absolutely brilliant in its
obviousness: They booked tours.