Archiv - Festival der Regionen 2015

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On the wheel of time

Work in motion—Bicycle tour on the tracks of workers’ culture in Ebensee

In scarcely any other place in Salzkammergut, to the present day, is cycling so much an immediate part of daily life. ‘Radlfoan’ (bike-riding) is to be understood here not as a sporting activity, but as a means for everyday locomotion. Socially, politically, culturally and with regard to its outward appearance, Ebensee is marked by its industrial history. Since the 1970s, changed economic boundary conditions have led to a successive loss of industrial jobs and to the disappearance of industrial sites, but workers’ culture has by no means completely disappeared. What could be more natural than to explore industrial and workers’ culture by bike?

The tour leads to extant locations of former well-established plants that have been greatly reduced: from the old salt-works via the Mayer box factory, the soap-works and the Sovay works, the Junghans watch factory and the Putz knitting factory to the mountaineering shoe factory and the Pottendorfer & Felixdorfer spinning and weaving factory. Together, occasionally forgotten paths of workers’ culture are travelled along that set modern standards such as factory kindergartens, workers’ housing and educational institutions.

The aim is to journey into the sometimes hard, but at the same time colourful and idiosyncratic culture of the Ebensee blue-collar sloggers. On the basis of contemporary documents and old photographs as well as workers’ biographies, a lively history is to be drawn which, like the tradition of ‘Radlfoan’, continues to the present day and, against the background of vanishing industrial locations and the associated necessary solidarity and reorientation, is more urgent and relevant than ever before.

With friendly support by AK Kultur