Petrol station

A film by Robert Schabus

11 minutes
Camera, film editing, interviews: Robert Schabus
With: Monika Oberreiter
Made in July 2008 in Schrattenberg/Hotel Pupik – Artists in Residence.

Everyone who travels via the B17 from Klagenfurt to Vienna (or back) passes a closed-down petrol station in Unzmarkt. The overhanging roof and the orphaned restaurant are relics of a past, when individual transport and mobility were the expression of a new freedom. In the 1950’s and 1960’s the B17, formerly the Triesterstraße, used to be the fastest and most important connection from Northern Austria (and beyond) all the way to Southern Europe. Truck drivers, commuters, early vacationers on their way to the Adriatic Sea; all of them valued the comfort of one of the first covered petrol stations on this route. During their short stay, the travelers brought the whole world to this small municipality on the Styrian highway.
One shot, one voice: The film is a still shot of the petrol station (Tankstelle in German). In the foreground the traffic moves smoothly. In the background we hear the voice of today's owner, whose father built the station in the 1950’s and ran it most of the time before its closure in the mid-1990s. She tells the story of this place which is also the story of her family — and the story of changing times, of a transition:
The petrol station, formerly a place of departure and encounter, will be demolished soon. It stands on the site of the planned extension road S37, which is heavily contested. After its completion, the S37 would again be Austria’s fastest north-south connection, bringing with it an influx in traffic, leaving no room for a petrol station with its best years behind it.