Vienna's imposing central railway station includes monochrome office buildings and apartment blocks in the city's Sonnwend quarter, but in Dariusz Kowalski's INTERIM USE it solely serves as an incidental backdrop in front of which kids from Vienna's Favoriten neighborhood play soccer. This documentary is not about engineered urban planning, instead it is concerned with haphazardly evolved sites – a niche well hidden in the no man's land between Vienna's highway system and former industrial buildings. It is here where a defunct meat processing factory stands, sliced into spaces for a colorful group of entrepreneurs and creative artists to use. The site now houses the rehearsal studio of a spirited growl metal band as well as an atelier where the conceptual artist Fabio Zolly works – a friend of the filmmaker.
INTERIM USE presents a multifaceted weave of interests and perspectives rarely to be found in Vienna. The perpetual flow of highway traffic reminds Zolly of life in Brooklyn and makes him feel right at home. Others landed here by accident, including a Lebanese grocer and operators of car repair shops. People are here from all over the world, which is why Kowalski's circumspect portrait distills a slice of migration history as well. What a realtor and owner of the property qualifies as "sustainability through reclamation," becomes tangible in a few simple actions: carpets are washed, cars repaired, even an artist paints over a previous work to make use of the textures the original painting provides.
Kowalski's film takes a similar direction. INTERIM USE anticipates the indictment of gentrification delivered, for example, by Su Friedrich's Gut Renovation. He would like to protect the charm of makeshift solutions turned permanent – a valuable quality perhaps not clear at first sight. No artificial drama imposes on his serene montage of snapshots, which instead delivers a subtle sense of humor. A dog named Lomo holds Kowalkski's cinematic album together, adding a touch of melancholy that cannot be avoided. The first sentence of the film is a typically Viennese colloquialism, "Es ist wurscht," literally translating as, "It's all sausage," and implying it doesn't matter: But it really does matter when such places disappear. (Dominik Kamalzadeh)
Translation: Eve Heller