The library of the Viennese Arbeiterkammer (Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour) is quiet, well stocked, has a sensible policy on water in the reading room and comes with a garden, so on most days this is where I work – and so does Mirko. He is an architect and writes his Ph.D. on Peter Eisenman and Rem Kohlhaas (which is a a funny coincidence because I am writing on Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas). Most of the time we share the better parts of our days and in the past year we went from being just library-buddies to being lunch-buddies, too.
A while back I had made a mental note about a lovely spot in the Arbeiterkammer lobby/waiting area and had hoped I could use it for a portrait one day. With the extraordinary architecture (by NMPB-Architekten) surrounding it, what better subject could there be than an architect who even happens to spend most of his working hours in that very building? So for my April portrait for Project 12 I am grateful that, despite his super busy week, Mirko was willing to sit in the gorgeous sunset light for me.
I am also very grateful to Roman Berka of the Arbeiterkammer Directorate, as he didn’t hesitate for a second when I asked for permission to shoot at that wonderful place. A big thank you also to the porter for his relaxed attitude during the shooting.
Certain people keep saying that apparently asking for forgiveness is easier than asking for permission. Not only was the opposite true here but while asking for permission, I also learned something: Mr Berka told me that Barbara Kruger’s »Questions« was due to be taken down at the beginning of May. This meant that a) I wasn’t going to run into unexpected construction work and b) I could do the shooting when the opportunity was still there to incorporate one of her pieces which is a very apt motto for every Ph.D. student: »Is work ever done?«