Authors: Ben Ruhe
Date Submitted: May 31, 2006
Article Type: Journal

An arts academy with two teachers passionate about kites. A kite store staff diligently spreading the word about the sport. Put them together. And what might loosely be called the Vienna School of Art Kites results—-a number of enthusiasts creating and flying kites that are as much esthetic objects as machines for flight.

Teacher Anna Rubin (see Page 23) and businessmen-hobbyists Helmut Georgi and Jan Houtermans were unquestionably the catalysts.

Daniela Zitzmann. Daniela makes delicate and attractive kites, of one basic design. They pack up into a large, neatly compartmentalized carrying envelope. No big, untidy kite sacks for her. “I’m a government secretary,” she says. “Making and flying kites in my spare time cleans my mind. I want to make paintings that fly in the sky.” Daniela uses only natural materials and a basic planar shape. Being heavy, the kites tend to need a fairly stiff breeze. Once viewed, her kites stick in the mind as unusual and memorable.

Steffi Rauchwarter. Steffi makes her living printing her own designs on cotton fabric for use in clothing and for interior design projects. Printing on cotton is rare, she points out. A friend inspired her to make large, dramatic kites covered with fabric and she immediately discovered the permeable cotton she uses would tolerate seriously stiff winds. Her puckish sense of humor provokes her to give all of her kites names. The first was Numero Uno. A huge red patterned kite became Pajama Man, and was joined by Pajama Madam for aerial dances. Stupid Fritz is another favorite. Steffi and partner Georg Kollmann, a computer programmer, wow visitors with their immense loft near the center of Vienna. Formerly a factory, it encompasses a whole floor and is 250 square meters in size, with high ceilings and lovely oak floors. It gives onto a courtyard and the couple awakes to bird song. Under long term lease, the showy loft has one great defect: no central heating.

PDF Link: Journal Issue