Konrad Becker on Thu, 13 Dec 2001 02:05:17 +0100 (CET)

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

<nettime> The NEW Kunstsektion

Key concepts: information warfare, cultural propaganda,
virtual bureaucracy, Austrian national identity

Link: http://kunst.government-austria.at/

The NEW Kunstsektion

The new Kunstsektion seeks to expose the ideological tradition of
Austrian cultural policies on the level of public administration.

Ever since February 2000 and for the duration of the measures against
Austria by 14 EU states, official Austrian politics has chosen a
language suited to create the appearance of European normality. The
coding of political language makes it difficult to decipher the true
intentions behind a message. To this day, the ideological background of
the People's Party (OEVP) is based on a backward-looking interpretation
of Austrian identity that has its roots in the clerical-authoritarian
dictatorship set up by this governmental party's forerunner
organization. This is the point where the OEVP intersects with the
historical tradition of the Freedom Party (FPOE), a party known for its
particularly hostile stance vis-à-vis art and widely considered as
successor organization of the former NSDAP. 

The new Kunstsektion sees its main service in translating the content of
Austrian cultural policies into comprehensible language. 

The pseudo-modernist terminology of the official Austrian cultural
administration has been carefully placed into its proper context, while
orthography and style have been faithfully restored in the spirit of
historical Austro-fascism. This historical experience of language seems
much better suited to expose the underlying values of an anti-modernist
provincialism. The strange imagery used by conservative politicians in
the inter-war period highlights the unbroken influence of the counter
reformation that proliferates in all areas of public life.

The interest of the public and of representatives of cultural and
political life has become evident in a wide response and a lively
debate. Already at a very early state the announcements of the new
Kunstsektion resulted in heated exchanges of opinion as well as
extensive debates in various mailing lists. The numerous messages
directed to the new Kunstsektion included some by prominent Members of
Parliament and leading representatives of Austrian cultural and
intellectual life. Reactions reached from protests against the bold
fascistoid phraseology, to expressions of gratitude for this new
cultural service, and even included an e-mail of the cultural
spokesperson of the OEVP who asked for previous postings to be

The new Kunstsektion has designed a new logo for its purposes. 
This logo was offered for publication to artists and cultural
institutions. Many among them made use of this offer. We are therefore
pleased to see that renowned institutions from all over Austria have
used the logo in their publications. These include all museums of the
town of Krems, the Salzburg art periodical “kunstfehler”, the well-known
cultural center “kosmos.frauenraum” of Vienna, “die theater” of Vienna,
the cultural center GUGG at Braunau, and many more. In addition, many
artists insisted on putting up the logo of the new Kunstsektion in
public locations across Austria. 

Until today the bulletins and news releases of the new Kunstsektion and
the State Secretary himself have been widely accepted as originating
from the official administration without questioning their authenticity.
But threats of taking legal action against the new Kunstsektion have not
materialized so far. The new Kunstsektion is determined to keep up its
cultural services of informing the Austrian public.



#  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: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net