Search for Truth

Light – Space – Sound Installation
30th Anniversary of the university library building
TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology)

November 13 – December 09
daily between 17:00 and 23:00
Karlsplatz/Resselpark/Wiedner Hauptstraße

Truth and science – only in science we have well defined criteria to differentiate truth from lies as well as probability from improbability. The search for truth leads to astonishing beauty in images. These support to understand and visualise complex phenomena and scientific knowledge, to promote science, to create and teach knowledge and to approximate to the truth in an everlasting search.

In times of uncertainty the library becomes a place for this search for truth. Libraries are special „heterotopias“ of our culture where knowledge is being collected and time is on hold– ” (…) the will to enclose in one place all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes, the idea of constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages, the project of organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place, this whole idea belongs to our modernity” (Foucault, 1984). The giant sculpture of the owl, located at a corner of the building facing Karlsplatz and clearly visible from one of Vienna’s most important junctions in the city centre, became the symbol of TU Wien as well as an urban landmark due to its exposed position.

The installation „Search for Truth“ („Suche nach Wahrheit“) connects the idea of a heterotopic space, the library, with its surroundings. With the help of large scale projections, using artistically arranged scientific images – from atoms to the universe, the sone owl will be brought to life.  The abstract appearing images are representing the beauty of science as an additional aspect. They are functioning as widely visible „magnets“ in the heart of the city. The projections are connectors for the interface between the inside and the outside, the library’s inner life and its surrounding, ratio and emotio as well as the relation to a human scale.

The sound installation a spart of the mirror tower was created by the renowned contemporary composer Shih and is an important part of the whole.  His piece “The Truth” is a section of his orchestral work “Die Trennung” (“Separation”).

Watch the video of “Search for Truth” on Youtube.

customer: TU Wien University Library
idea, concept and realisation: Fabian Dembski / team: Klemens Bichler, Benjamin Park
composition “The Truth”: Shih
projections: Pani Projection and Lighting
glass construction: Loley Structural Glazing
electrical installation: SV-wtu Premium Event Services

Note: This “search for truth” is of course vain because the “truth” stays illusive as a linguistic construct through multiple methaphorizations of truth (Nietzsche, 1872).  


Foucault, Michel: Die Heterotopien. Der utopische Körper – Zwei Radiovorträge. Berlin: suhrkamp taschenbuch wissenschaft, 2013. (Originalausgabe/Aufzeichnung 1966)

Foucault, Michel: Des Espaces Autres, Paris: Architecture/Mouvement/Continuité (journal), and published by the French journal Architecture /Mouvement/ Continuité, 1984.

Nietzsche, Friedrich: Über Wahrheit und Lüge im außermoralischen Sinne. Projekt Gutenberg-DE, Hamburg, available online: (Originalausgabe 1872)

Shih: Die Trennung (3. Teil der Fluss-Trilogie). Symphonische Musik in einem Satz nach einem Motiv von Marguerite Duras. Vienna: Doblinger, 2004

Veremondi, Franco: Demskys Heterotopie. In: SKIN, Architektur & Bauforum, 01.05.2014, p.48.

Cover photo: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team, arranged by Fabian Dembski

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