Sabine Bitter, Helmut Weber on Sat, 12 Feb 2000 18:18:40 +0100 (CET)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> re_act austria

some further arguments concerning robert flecks call for boycotting austria:

As Austrian artists and cultural workers we strictly reject the current
Austrian government. This government stands for an escalation of the
politics of simplification, populistic agitation, growth of media
monopolies and racist xenophobia which have increasingly governed everyday
political life during the last year - unfortunately not soley in Austria
(in this sense Austria is both symptomatic and particular). 

Since the OEVP enabled the FPOE to participate in the government --a party
which has to be attributed neofascist tendencies -- for the first time we
find ourselves confronted with a situation in which the government has to
secure their position in front of the population by massive police
protection: a population which makes their resistance public against this
government by demonstrations and other various forms of social protest. 

In this context we are compelled to strongly reject the cynisism of Robert
Fleck's current statement in which he attempts to conflate national
socialism and the situation in Austria today -- an irresponsible and
inconsiderate reaction in front of historical facts which minimizes the
historical actualities of the period of national socialism and distorts
the form of neo-racism and nationalism of the current situation. Robert
Fleck draws a completely distorted image of the situation of artists,
using the same kind of populistic language that we should now be
particularly wary of and fight actively. 

Apart from that, who empowered Mr. Fleck to be the speaker in the name of
all Austrian artists? How can he consider himself as "one of the last
internationally active Austrian art critics"? 

The call to boycott Austrian artists and institutions is irresponsible,
contraproductive and is equal to an incapacitation and generalization of
actually active artists. The galleries, theatres and museums of Austria
should now become a site for intensified social protest (from artists from
every country)  and not abandoned as contaminated sites. To abandon these
cultural sites plays into the FPOE's isolationist and anti-cultural
rhetoric;  particularly at this moment, a renewed role for art as a
materialization of social protest is called for, not a more passive

His arguments speak more of his insolence or arrogance and exaggerated
self-esteem, leaving the international art community (being always eager
for scandals) with panicked questions (going as far as: May I still be in
touch with you or should I make an "official statement" by boycotting our
personal contact?). And, even worse, his distorting statements tempt us to
draw the conclusion that he might play consciously/unconsciously into the
hands of the persons now in power. Analysis and effective action against
the actually existing neo-racism within globalization and newly configured
retrograde nationalism within Austria are needed, not mere reaction
drawing predictable parallels which obscure actual social relations.
Especially concerning this aspect we are eager to hear some clarifying
re-positioning from Mr. Fleck. 

Overall, we rely on the solidarity and participation of our colleagues to
secure the possibility for us (and them) to continue acting on an
international platform --and to use that platform to effectively express
our resistance. 

Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, Barbara Holub, Ortrun Lanzner, Ruth Schnell,
Guenther Selichar, Helmut Weber


more links:

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: contact: