reliéf Relief / 16mm / Sound / 2023 / 9 min

Beginnend mit dem historischen Gemälde einer idyllischen Marchlandschaft, lagernd in einem Kunstdepot, bewegt sich der Film entlang des Grenzflusses March, der mit seinem österreichisch-slowakischen Abschnitt eine der ältesten Landesgrenzen Österreichs festlegt. Der Film stellt Fragen zu Bildspeicher, Flucht und dem Nachhall historischer Gegebenheiten. Das Depot dient als Lager und Speicher von Bildern und Geschichte, während die Natur ständig akkumuliert und schichtet. 'relièf Relief' mäandert den Jahreszeiten entlang flussabwärts und verweist auf die Geschichte der Flucht in Zeiten des Eisernen Vorhangs. Der Film stellt Fragen bezüglich verborgener Geschichte sowie zur Überwucherung von Natur und bezieht sich nicht zuletzt auf den Begriff der kontaminierten Landschaft.


Beginning with a historical painting of an idyllic March landscape, stored in an art depot, the film moves along the border river March, which with its Austrian-Slovakian section establishes one of Austria's oldest national borders. The film poses questions about image storage, escape, and the reverberations of historical circumstances. The depot serves as a storehouse and repository of images and history, while nature constantly accumulates and stratifies. 'relièf Relief' meanders downstream along the seasons, referencing the history of escape in Iron Curtain times. It poses questions regarding hidden history as well as the overgrowth of nature and refers not least to the notion of contaminated landscape.

∣ Credits ∣

A film by Johannes Gierlinger & Mira Klug
Soundmix by Samuel Klug
Music by Frank Rottmann
Distribution by Lemonade Films

Supported by Stadt Wien, Land Niederösterreich, Cineart Styria


∣ Festivals ∣ Screenings ∣

Diagonale Graz 2023, Austria
Cinema Next 2023, Austria
Festival Inter. de Cine Independiente de La Plata - FestiFreak 2023, Argentina
Antimatter [Media Art], 2023, Canada
Aesthetica SFF - Experimental Film Section 2023, UK
This Human World FF - Expanded Shorts Section 2023, Austria
Akbank Short FF 2024, Turkey
Fotogalerie Wien, 2024, Austria
European Media Art Festival (EMAF), 2024, Germany
ICDOCS Iowa City Int. Documentary Film Festival 2024, USA
Paxos Biennale - Manifesto of Memory, 2024, Greece
Super Natur -  Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Niederösterreich, 2024, Austria
KinoFest Patra, 2024, Greece
Laterale Film Festival, 2024, Italy
Peripheries Experimental Film & Video Festival, 2024, USA

Notes on reliéf Relief 
For a year, we have been exploring the river landscape of the Morava river and its historical border landscapes as a repository of history. Rivers are places of memory and are characterized by their symbolism and function. Rivers are suitable for spatially and symbolically depicting individual and collective human experiences such as life and death or demarcation and sociability, border formation and border crossing. National interests often play an essential role in this. The Morava is a river that has formed an effective and „dense“ border for centuries. It is one of the oldest national borders of Austria and has been the eastern border of „Austria“ since the 11th century. At first it was the internal border of the Habsburg monarchy, during the Nazi dictatorship it was the border to the Nazi satelite state of Slovakia and from 1945-1992 it was the border to Czechoslovakia. During the Iron Curtain period, numerous people tried to cross the Morava Riverto escape to Austria. The mostly between 50m and 200m wide border strip, which had to be crossed for this purpose, became a refuge for endangered species during this time, because nature could develop almost undisturbed within this closed off area during the Cold War. The aim of our work was to explore and document the Morava as a border river and border landscape within one year. Landscape is not simply a natural reality.
It is characterised by its images and the idea of landscape. The work also examines the pictorial landscapes and landscape images. In addition, nature as an " untouched" place played an important role in our work. In order to further emphasize the ambiguity of the landscape, we interwove the auditory nature recordings with fragmentary and distorted excerpts from Czechoslovakian and Austrian radio reports on border events along the Morava River to create a condensed sound layer. These landscape images are contrasted with flashing human poses. In the course of the work we assembled historical maps showing the changes in the course of the river and thus also the border with images and text material from border-related events such as the death of a GDR and CSSR refugee and the opening of the border in 1989. In the entirety of the images, archives and sounds, the work should be viewed not only in relation to a historical question, but also as a space for current events in relation to flight, borders and geographical conflicts.

Patrick Holzapfel - Diagonale Graz 2023
"Johannes Gierlinger and Mira Klug approach the border region between Slovakia and Austria with precisely assembled images that make repressed history visible. Archive photos, landscape shots, and suddenly appearing human poses condense to that urgent certainty that it’s not possible to cast off the past."