calin dan on Sun, 13 Feb 2000 10:53:50 +0100 (MET)

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Syndicate: Fw: re_act austria

>Mime-Version: 1.0
>Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 19:10:14 +0100
>From: (Sabine Bitter, Helmut Weber)
>Subject: re_act austria
>dear friends, colleagues,
>below you find a statement concerning a letter by robert fleck, which got
>lots of attention the last week.
>Even tho there has been said a lot, (also in the meantime mr. fleck
>_adjusted_ his statement) we want to point out some further arguments.
>check out the links below for the wide range of activism going on in 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
>particularly at this moment, a renewed role for art as a materialization of
>social protest is called for, not a more passive boycotting.
>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, Andrea van der Straeten, Paul Rajakovics, Helmut Weber
>more links:

Calin Dan
Rozengracht 105/D4
NL-1016 LV Amsterdam
T: + 31 (0)20 770 1432
F: + 31 (0)20 623 7760

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