Regional Express

Regional Express

A living heritage project for the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024 by Petra Ardai, Ella Raidel, and Marlene Rutzendorfer.

The train in motion as a narrator, time travelers, and the landscape as cinema.

The regional train and the surrounding landscape from Gmunden to Bad Aussee serve as the stage for this audiovisual docu-fiction. Memories of humans and non-humans retell the story of the Salzkammergut from multiple perspectives. Passengers can hear a conversation between the Train, the Mountain, and the Traunsee Mermaid, interwoven with stories of the local population.

Amsterdam-based documentary theater maker and scenario writer Petra Ardai interviewed locals to create a docu-fiction narrative about how the landscape, the salt, and the industry formed the region. Which powers shaped structures that are still present? What is the place of tradition in the future? 

The train journey is divided into five excursions. You can hop op in Gmunden, Ebensee, Bad Ischl, Hallstatt and Bad Aussee. The audio-visual material is arranged according to the scenery. Renowned actress and narrator Chris Lohner, the official voice of all railway stations in Austria, accompanies us on this imaginary journey in the role of the Train. The experience can be accessed via the QR code below and from March 2024 via the Salzkammergut Culture Guide App. Bring your headphones to listen to the story.

Access the story from here.

In August 2024, the story continues as a cinematic virtual reality experience directed by filmmaker Ella Raidel. The Cine VR  takes the audience into caves, mines, and landscapes around the Salzkammergut region in 360° videos. This immersive journey can be viewed through VR glasses provided at the venues.

Estonian Composer Sander Saarmets collected sounds in participatory workshops with people from the region. Susi Jirkuff’s distinct, delicate line drawings connect the audio-visual experience of Regional Express through various media on the App, website, and graphic design.

Marlene Rutzendorfer is the curator, producer, and researcher of the project. Having grown up in the region, she not only coordinated the international team of multidisciplinary artists working on Regional Express but also established a close connection to the area by involving an extensive network of locals.


Instagram: #regionalexpress2024


“Austria’s Salzkammergut bets on arts, culture to reboot region in 2024,” by Ong Sor Fern, The Straits Times Singapore, 14.02.2024.  Link

Moshammer, Mariella. ”Geschichten von Riesenkraken, während der See vorbeifließt.“ Volksblatt, 22.01.2024, Link

A preview of the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl 2024 and the project Regional Express, in „Schaufenster,“ Die Presse, Philipp, Norbert. 15.12.2023, Regional Express is an audio-visual experience on the train and in cine virtual reality for the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl 2024 by Petra Ardai, Ella Raidel, and Marlene Rutzendorfer. Link

Lebensg’schichten: Ella Raidel, Video portrait, Salzi TV, produced by Melanie Jungwirth. Link