Thank you Mr. Secretary


Heinz Riegler

Kurt Waldheim was U.N. Secretary-General in 1977 when his greeting to the universe was included on the original Voyager Gold Discs. Some years later he ran for political office in my native Austria, where during the campaign it was revealed that Waldheim’s recently published autobiography omitted a series of questionable activities in relation to his service within Hitler’s Wehrmacht.

Here his echo returns to address extraterrestrial life once again, still desperately insistent that humans are a benign species, only concerned with seeking peaceful coexistence and friendship.

Heinz Riegler is an Austrian born musician, composer and multidisciplinary artist working between Australia and Europe. First emerging as a songwriter and performer in the late 1980s, Riegler has since expanded his output across video, installation and visual art. Riegler currently investigates concepts of utilitarian composition, rendering ambient improvisations through a variety of analogue and digital instrumentation, inviting the audience to reconsider how it comes to understand that which surrounds it.

In recent years he has exhibited an outdoor installation in the old town of Salzburg, Austria, curated and performed a three-month season of improvised live scores for Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art and collaborated with painter Allyson Reynolds for a work first exhibited at the Moreton Bay Regional Gallery in Queensland, Australia. He has soundtracked a Theo Deutinger animated short film that debuted at the Netherlands Architecture Institute, created an award-winning audiovisual work filmed in alpine Austria and released several full length recordings on Room40’s ‘A Guide To Saints’ imprint. His latest work, Sunken Houses, (an interdisciplinary exhibition with photographer Brad Marsellos) is a score composed in response to the devastating 2013 Bundaberg floods, and put Riegler's practice of utilitarian (remedial) composition to work in the local community. 

Riegler works as a solo artist/performer as well as frequent collaborator and contributor. He is an ARIA award winner, was twice short listed for the Grant McLennan Memorial Fellowship and is the co-founder of minus20degree, a biannual art and architecture festival in the Austrian Alps.

Shortlist history



Brian Ritchie

15 September at 02:38PM

Lou Reed also wrote a song about this person.

Thea Baumann

14 October at 02:16AM


Kurt Waldheim . Post. Punk .

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