Sex in Vienna. Desire. Control. Transgression
Though sex is a constant of human existence, the forms, representations, and individual/social valuations of sex have undergone changes over the course of history. These changes have never been more sustained than during the process of urbanization. The city provided free spaces that made possible new forms of sexuality, both in terms of practices and identities. The urban milieu promised anonymity, an outlet from social control, and the fulfillment of sexual desires. At the same time, the city made possible new configurations of surveillance, and urbanization contributed to the invention of new ways of disciplining and categorizing sex. But neither moralistic sermonizing, nor economic systematization, nor police control were able to curb that which had found its unapologetic place in the bedrooms, secret spaces, and darkened corners of the city.
The “Sex” exhibition traces a sexual topography of Vienna, and reveals which kinds of spaces and which forms of sex the city offered to which groups of people then and today. It also shows which respective groups tried and try to either expand or restrict these spaces. The exhibition also seeks to explain how the sexual topography of the city continues to develop and change down to the present day under the influence of new media, new forms of the commodification of sex, and changing legal and social norms of sexuality.