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<nettime> Free Media Camp Vienna - Report from an Illegal Squat
Konrad Becker on Sat, 28 Jun 2003 18:34:30 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Free Media Camp Vienna - Report from an Illegal Squat

Yesterday night a broad alliance of independent media initiatives and
cultural organizations including the community radio "Orange", members of
the community media cluster Vienna (CMCV), the magazine MALMOE, the media
lab PVL, and umbrella organizations like IG Kultur, joined Public Netbase
reclaimed the streets by establishing a free media camp in the center of

The illegal squat started with three office containers and a large tent
set on an empty square in the middle of one of the main junctions of inner
city traffic. The Karlsplatz close to the state Opera also happens to be
one of the main hangouts for homeless and addicts and has been in the
focus of restructuring plans for considerable time.

The perspective of gentrification and a new venue for representational
culture and tourist industry has received sharp criticism.
Expropriation/privatization of the commons by neoliberal religious
practice and the attack on public space demands direct action. Austria has
been in the grip of a rightwing government for some years now, with a
substantial effort on societal restructuring which includes increased
control and withdrawal in culture. The city of Vienna which traditionally
has a social democratic majority reacts by increasing control on public
and cultural services themselves, while the political opposition parties
in town are useless or hostile towards civil society's dissent and
struggle. For Public Netbase standing accused of causing damages of 45000
euros at a recent street protest (celebrating the "day of free media"
15.June) conflict is the only response left to deal with the local

A joint act of civil disobedience by a large coalition of critical culture
is a strong signal that sleepy Vienna is waking up to claim its
birthright: free media culture.

The ceremonial opening of the camp on Friday 23:00 included speakers from
media and cultural organizations, an address from Dieter Schrage, one of
the activists from the first squat in Austria in the 70's (Arena), Ricardo
Dominguez with an electronic Zapatista declaration praising the
technologies of imagination, and ended with an open air notebook concerto
deep into the warm summer night.

Although they issued a warning, police has not been on location and
abstained from direct interference for the time being.  The free media
camp, featuring a free wifi, will be a hotspot for information exchange,
workshops, events and parties for the next weeks and months - or until
removed by brute force :)


the campsite

some first snapshots:

a netbase info site

an extremly dubious citizens initiative


a map of the area


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