The Wooden Birds
Arne-Carlsson- Park, 2009
The last time we accompanied a band to the Arne-Karlsson Park, it was cold, dark and there was no living soul around. Unlike the former nightly performance on a half pipe, The Wooden Birds’ park visit on a spring afternoon immediately allures a cloud of interested bystanders. Kids and more kids. It is no secret that they are the most forthright and unsophisticated audience to convince, as they act so much on impulse. If they like something, they stop by, or if they don’t care, they go on doing whatever more or less important thing they were doing before. In this case Austin-based Andrew Kenny and his bandmates fascinate many and captivate some. The Wooden Birds’ mellow and pulsatile sound might not get the Austrian kids booty-shakin’, but they still leave a strong impression on them. So strong that the encouraging words of the woman holding the young boy’s hand (“Do you want to dance? You know how do dance…”) seem not to reach him anymore. He is awestruck.
Arne-Karlsson-Park is – with a size of 12.500 square meters – among the biggest parks of Vienna’s 9th district Alsergrund. It is named after the head of the Swedish relief action for Vienna in 1946/47, when Karlssons initiative led to 70.000 food rations being given to poor and hungry people every day. Unlike some other Viennese parks, Arne-Karlsson-Park is accessible all day and night and serves as a recreation area for students from the many nearby University departments. Moreover there are ramps and half-pipes for skaters. Until 1860 the area was used for a so called Siechenhaus, a special house for quarantined people who were isolated because of contagious diseases. Afterwards the City of Vienna built a Bürgerversorgungshaus, a hospital for poor people. In 1928, the park was opened in today’s shape, except for the 700-square-meter air-raid-shelter that was erected during the Second World War.