What to do, in order not to leave important decisions concerning our futures up to artificial intelligence, multinational companies, or warmongers? How can we work together with our natural environment without having to use additional energy? What possibilities are there to create new and useful tools that are also fun, using the materials that are already available to us?
In the decommissioned warehouse in Steyregg, Ursula Maria Probst, together with artists, activists, and collectives from Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as international contributions, explored ways out of this throwaway society, took a look at using spaces, foodstuffs, and energy collectively, and commited ourselves to sustainability, repair, and upcycling.
Sráč Sam presented by Denisa Bytelová has initiated numerous residencies for artists over the past 40 years and presented these. In the pop-up solar laboratory Expanded Garden Steyregg/Solarmanufaktur, children, youths, and adults were invited to cook outdoors with solar powered appliances, and to build little solar cookers themselves that could then be used in their day-to-day lives. Based on statements and calls by Huda Takriti, Imran Khan (He/Him), Artists for Future and Katerina Holà from the Climate Justice Collective Limity Jsme My, banners with messages were designed and installed in the train station in Steyregg. In the future oracle Monument der kollektiven Empathie that was supervised by Transcultural Emancipation, wishes for the future were molded in clay. Inspiration for this could also be found in the film programme with contributions from Oliver Ressler (Not Sinking, Swarming, 2021), Anna Mutschlechner-Dean (no annamed, What lies in the imperishable, 2021), Janani Cooray (Beauty Through Disposed/Sri Lanka, 2022), Where Dogs Run – Natalia Grekhova, Alexey Korzukhin, Olga Inozemteva (Kerosine chronicles. Fungus Project implemented in 2021, 2022 und 1,4,..19, 2014).
Contributor: Sráč Sam presented by Denisa Bytelová, Janani Cooray, Katerina Holà (Klimagerechtigkeitsbewegung Limity Jsme My), Imran Khan, Anna Mutschlechner-Dean, Oliver Ressler, Huda Takriti, Irene Lucas und Christoph Euler (Solarmanufaktur/Expanded Garden Steyregg), Artists for Future, Transcultural Emancipation, Where Dogs Run
Ursula Maria Probst is a cultural worker and the artistic director at the FLUCC in Vienna and co-operator of the artist-in-residence programme BODY EMBEDDING, as well as an artist, curator, text worker, spacial producer, and university lecturer. She deals with the development of practices to activate networks and community outreach programmes, as well as international platforms. She has created projects for KÖR, Public Art NÖ, Festival of the Regions, Kunstraum NÖ, Vienna Artweek, KulturKontakt Austria, Galerie Krinzinger, K/haus, Havanna Biennale, European capital of culture Plovdiv, ASIAtopia Festival and international projects in Brazil, Cuba, Panama, Bulgaria, China, Thailand, Russia, Morocco, Mexico, Vietnam, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Israel, Palestine, and Ukraine.
Sráč Sam is a fine artist who lives in Česká Bříza. In her work she reflects on the linguistic, visual, and social patterns that arise through impulses of power and then culminate in what we refer to as culture. She founded the sam83 gallery, and organises the DIY residency programme Artist in Cottage. This project was also partly started due to the specials conditions in countries of the former eastern bloc, where there was little to no funding for artistic work.
Denisa Bytelova has been developing the programme for the sam83 gallery in Česká Bříza together with Sráč Sam since 2006. She is a lecturer for contemporary media history at the Ladislav-Sutnar faculty for design and art in Pilsen. In addition to this, she works as an independent curator, and writes as a freelance critic for A2, Artalk, Ateliér, Flash Art, Fotograf, Pižmo, Artlist, and abArt.
The artists Irene Lucas and Christoph Euler have been exploring potential zones of contact and shared territories from the perspective of active and global learning since 2010. In their projects, they attempt to connect methods from nature and art, or rather play and media pedagogy in an experimental manner. In the pop-up solar laboratory children and youths, but also interested adults, can cook outdoors with solar powered appliances and construct their own little solar cookers. Everyone is invited to prepare energy self-sufficient slow-food and to bring along home grown ingredients.
Kateřina Holá is a member of the climate justice collective Limity Jsme My (We are the Limits), that organises climate camps and campaigns for energy democracy, just transformation, and a withdrawal from coal dependancy. A pivotal moment for the movement were the protests surrounding the destruction of various villages in the north of the Czech Republic in the year 2015. Additionally, Kateřina Holá has been working with the organisation Tosara z.s., that is involved in making early care, free time activities, and educational support more accessible for those in need.
Artists for Future are of the opinion that we need not save the earth, but that it is sufficient to just stop actively destroying it. The climate crisis and the Corona pandemic showed us that we have absolutely gone too far in terms of the extraction of resources from the earth. We must recognize that there is no clear distinction between human beings and the nature that surrounds us, and that a good life for all, across all borders can only be achieved in harmony with nature.
Huda Takriti is a trans-disciplinary artist who lives in Vienna. She researches the gaps in historic memory, by connecting personal and national narratives. She questions the construction and production of historical narratives, the possible implications of a reconstruction of a neglected history on our understanding of history and the processes of searching for archival truth.
Christina Ochoa connects questions concerning the extinction of species with herbalism and pharmacy, she deals with cultural myths and ceremonies, as well as their interpretation and assimilation into communities. In this practice she can build on her studies undertaken in the fields of fine art, cultural management, copyright, and Mexican art history that she completed in Columbia and Mexico.
Janani Cooray works as a multidisciplinary artist and is one of the first performance artists from Sri Lanka. Besides her studies in visual and performative art, she also completed studies in art history and has taken part in international exhibitions and workshops. Her video work Beauty Through Disposed (2021) shows how plastics do not only devour nature, but also us, as tiny plastics can already be found in our bloodstreams and stomachs.
Imran Khan works together with organisations who focus on youth development, peace activism, and the strengthening of communal institutions, such as Seeds of Peace, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, Skateistna, and Plan International. His passion also goes towards social change in the areas of children’s protection, educational programmes for girls, and mobility.
Oliver Ressler works as an artist and filmmaker on the topics of economy, democracy, climate crisis, forms of civil disobedience, and societal alternatives. He has taken part in numerous international exhibitions and Biennales, such as the Documenta 14 in Kassel. The starting point for his film No Sinking, Swarming (2021) is a gathering of different activist groups preparing for a joint action of civil disobedience in Madrid. As the participants could be prosecuted by the state for the organisation of an illegal blockade, the faces of the participants have all been pixelated.
Anna Mutschlechner-Dean studies transmedial art at the Academy for Applied Art in Vienna, and her most recent work was shown within the framework of the art show Parallel Vienna and the Blue Danube film festival. The film What lies in the imperishable (2021) asks questions about the consequences of the human desire for immortality, by creating a hybrid of a human body and abstracted forms with a potentially immortal species of jellyfish.
Transcultural Emancipation started in 2013 based on cooperative projects with KulturKontakt Austria, and dedicates itself today to transcultural activities. Transcultural Emancipation views art as a place that brings out a special conviviality, supports an ecological balance and keeps an eye on biological diversity. Contemporary art attempts to free itself from social laws and conventions that it is based in – similar to laughing. The act of laughing happens within a liminal space, it stems from it while also creating it.
Where Dogs Run is an artist collective that was founded in Jakaterinburg in 2000. Natalia Grekhova, Alexey Korzukhin, and Olga Inozemtseva work collectively within the fields of technological art, and use various different media, such as video, robotics, hybrid installations, performances, and DIY packages. In this, they combine innovative visual techniques with scientific research instruments, and a low-tech aesthetic.