[spectre] taking stock
emonk at george.eliot.priv.at
Wed Jan 19 14:21:20 CET 2005
As the city of Linz, Austria, prepares to be designated European Cultural
Capital 2009, the Freie Szene, the independent art scene of Linz, takes stock.
Questions, suggestions and comments are welcome.
PRESS RELEASE 19/01/2005
Between KEP 1999 and KH 2009
5 years after the Cultural Development Plan (KEP)
4 years before Cultural Capital (KH)
1 year with Erich Watzl
Discussion of the current situation and future perspectives of the Freie Szene
Vice-Mayor City Councilor Dr. Erich Watzl
City Councilor MMag. Klaus Luger
District Councilor Horst Lausegger
Maga. Elfi Sonnberger (Offenes Forum Freie Szene Linz, Linz City Culture
MMag. Harald Schmutzhard (Offenes Forum Freie Szene Linz, Social Impact)
Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi (Offenes Forum Freie Szene Linz, FIFTITU%, KUPF)
Chair: Mag. Martin Wassermair
Thursday, 27 January 2005, 7.30 p.m.
(Linz) Over the last few decades the Freie Szene, the independent art scene, has
indisputably become a locomotive for cultural and artistic development in Linz
(KAPU, moviemento, Die Fabrikanten, Radio FRO, servus, Stadtwerkstatt, Theater
Phönix, Linzer Frühling, TIME'S UP, KUPF, ...). The Freie Szene has provided or
at least co-initiated essential impulses for the development of the art and
culture landscape of this city (Architekturforum, Ars Electronica Festival,
Crossing Europe Film Festival, Festival der Regionen, LinzFest, O.K Center for
Contemporary art, ...). This independent art scene also contributed
substantially to the success of the European Culture Month 1998. Despite
increasingly sparse resources and with great effort, widely respected projects
and initiatives have been established in recent years as well (FIFTITU%, G11,
Institut fuer erweiterte Kunst/Frohsinn, Kunstraum Goethestrasse, Freundinnen
der Kunst, Kliemsteinhaus/Salzamt, MAIZ, MEDEA, prairie, qujOchÖ, Social Impact,
transpublic, Wunderkinder KG, ...). In addition, many artists from this field
have substantially contributed to changing Linz from a City of Steel to a City
For some time now, though, there have been rumblings in the Freie Szene. While
the city embarks on achieving a format of European culture, the initiatives and
artists of the Freie Szene are struggling to survive. Stagnating and shrinking
budgets, non-confirmation of funding, meager impulses and abstruse subvention
procedures increasingly hamper the work of independent artists.
In 2000 the City of Linz prepared a specific Culture Development Plan (KEP
Kulturentwicklungsplan). In these guidelines that were agreed by resolution of
the city council, the Freie Szene is named as one of the three cornerstones of
Linz as City of Culture, alongside the areas of "Technology and New Media" and
"Open Spaces". Numerous objectives formulated in the KEP refer to the Freie
Szene. Under "Linz Profile", for instance, it says: "In order to maintain the
great artistic potential of the Freie Szene in Linz in the future as well,
support for the Freie Szene must be consistently and sustainably continued and
expanded." (KEP 2000, p. 10; http://www.linz.at/kultur/kep/E-start.htm)
An interim report from Spring 2004 lists implementations, supplements and
commentaries to the KEP (Festival 4020, Media Institute, cultural revitalization
of city districts, further development of the LinzFest, Linz Music Theater,
Knowledge Tower, ...). With a few minor exceptions (LinzEXPOrt, Linz Innovation
Pool, funding agreements for several years), the Freie Szene has been left out.
Many of the objectives and measures that affect the Freie Szene are still
waiting to be implemented five years after KEP.
Vice-Mayor Dr. Erich Watzl (OeVP) has meanwhile held office as Cultural
Councilor for just over a year. In terms of necessary funding, the Freie Szene
has been fluctuating (still) between stagnation and resignation since then.
Palpable movement and clear impulses for the focal point "Freie Szene" have been
few and far between, if not entirely lacking. In some cases, the development is
even regressive: reputable organizations of the Freie Szene have had their
budgets cut, up and coming initiatives are denied even ludicrously low amounts
of funding. However, the other political parties must also face the reproach
that they have neglected to ensure consistent and lasting support for this
cornerstone, the Freie Szene.
Looking ahead to the year 2009, the lack of cultural policies in the focal point
area of the "Freie Szene" is all the more tragic. With all the efforts devoted
to polishing the external facade of a European Cultural Capital, the responsible
politicians of the city of Linz seem to have forgotten about the development and
expansion of the basis, the substance. Without the creative and innovative
forces of the Freie Szene, Linz 2009 will degenerate into a short-term event
spectacle. The unique opportunity of this major project for providing the
artistic and cultural profile of the city of Linz (and the surrounding region)
with a lasting strength will be wasted.
For this reason, the Linzer Freie Szene demands that action must follow the
unanimous resolution of the Cultural Development Plan by the City Council in
2000 to ensure the survival of this scene and enable dynamic further
development. It is only under these conditions that the project "European
Cultural Capital 2009" can be seriously prepared and sustainably implemented in
keeping with the principles of the Cultural Development Plan and thus the
profile of the city of Linz.
On 27 January 2005 the Freie Szene invites the responsible politicians of Linz
to take part in a panel discussion entitled "TAKING STOCK. Between KEP 1999 and
KH 2009" to discuss a list of demands and develop new perspectives. At the
Stadtwerkstatt, representatives from the Austrian People's Party (OeVP), the
Social-Democratic Party of Austria (SPOe) and the Greens will be called upon to
state their positions regarding the bleak situation of the Freie Szene and
present their proposals for the necessary implementation of the demands.
In case of further questions, phone ...
++43 650 37 18 080 (Harald Schmutzhard)
++43 664 17 65 195 (Andrea Mayer-Edoloeyi)
++43 732 60 20 74 (Elfi Sonnberger)
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