Villa Perpetuum Mobile

Forum Stadtpark
Stadtpark 1
8010 Graz  ♿
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Tue–Sun 11:00–19:00
Free admission thanks to AK Steiermark

In the middle of Graz’s Stadtpark lies Forum Stadtpark, a cultural institution and perennial festival partner. Founded as an artist-run initiative in 1959, it has been an interdisciplinary bastion of contemporary culture. Its building was originally a glass facade café. Especially after its renovation in the 1990s, it resembles a modernist villa, an incongruous, maybe even utopian home for dissenters, with the faint scent of lonely privilege and, possibly, tragedy.

In our imagination, Forum Stadtpark turns into the residence of a dissident’s dissident, the physicist, poet, and erstwhile mental patient Stefan Marinov (1931–1997). Unsatisfied with opposing the communist government of his native Bulgaria, Marinov also took up arms against Einstein’s theory of relativity. He emigrated in the 1970s and spent the last decades of his life in Graz, where he founded his own Institute of Fundamental Physics while working a day job as a groom.

Marinov’s main energies were focused on inventing a perpetuum mobile. Many of his colleagues, including Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, considered him a fraud. Nevertheless, Marinov enjoyed an international reputation among followers of alternative physics. He traveled broadly, including to California, where his theories fell on grateful esoteric ears. But when his experiments failed, he jumped to his death from an outdoor stairwell of the University of Grazʼs library. The installation in Forum Stadtpark combines Marinov’s books and papers with works by artists exploring physical principles that haunted him.