Spectacle and Situation
Can artistic spontaneity be staged through the media?
14.-23. August 2007
In a media society, the ideas behind the title of the theme the Sommerakademie will focus on in August 2007 could be understood as stark opposites.
„Situation“ has a „given“ effect on us, a result, in which a process seems to have come to a standstill, which defines itself now and then as surroundings where everything „fits“ together, – no gestures, no words, no expression, no symbolic order, be it arbitrary or sudden. This is also true of social or theatrical interaction and staging: either one behaves in harmony with the situation or one is a little or very off-beat.
„Spectacle“, on the other hand, is pure and simple process. Fantasy explodes, one embodies feelings of excitement and sudden inspiration, literally becoming an „inner shooting-star“ – oscillating vitality in a multi-media interplay. A huge see-saw of the senses, an individual dissolving of the self, dancing and dreaming, intoxicating astonishment turn a circus scenario instantly into personal free space and dreams in a common happenstance, all for one and one for all. Clubbing rituals, festival events, situational theatre, dadaistic self-portrayal performance, artistic profane masses, etc.: a situational „absolutism of the moment“ takes hold of the victims of structure; convention, constraint and hierarchy, that is, the astonished public. The rules of a topsy-turvy world apply. „Every rule is an exception, psychology a handicap…“ (Walter Serner)
Individualism becomes confused – the self-portrait as desired by the media becomes entangled in paradox: we are expected to be authentic, credible, and constructed in a medially-perfect way, and this all at once and immediately. However, by the very process of its creation through media, the credibility needed is exhausted in a flash, the highest intensity of life congeals to mere pseudo-embodiment. In terms of illusionary techniques, the media force a general perfectioning of „Virtual Reality“, to steer our powers of imagination (the „real“ virtuality) from outside and render them manipulable or consumable as a media-event – as if that`s what we wanted, yearned for and implemented. „Spontaneous creativity“ as media staging, so to speak. The paradox couldn`t be more crass.
Nevertheless, artists, as well as the discerning public, must happily produce in this globally binding media reality, adapting live and above all, autonomously understanding and holding their own with the expression of self-critical vitality. And that`s the way it should be. Obsessivity is artists` creative staple, as are their mental-spiritual sympathisers. Performant presence is vital for both. The inspiration of an idea, the Flash of Ingenuity in thought – not planable theoretically or medially – takes place in performance, inspires and excites, and must be an „inner spectacle“. Artists must be capable of obsessivity, otherwise they have not reached the present.
The Sommerakademie 2007 will deal with young positions in contemporary art, although the dividing line between art and the „Possibilities of the Artificial“ will be dealt with in a practical-aesthetic way as well as theoretically. „Delirious“, it goes without saying - „de linea ire“ - to go over the line, by staying „on the line“. The intermediality in art and interdisciplinarity between its experimental diversity and the sciences is self-evident. The use of voice/sound/noises, multi-media installations for rhetorical architectonics or concept-theatrics, experimental surroundings for situational performances, hybrid forms or artificial-naïve from the empire of conventions of classic art forms, etc. – participating artists are expected from all these aesthetic horizons of expression. No discourse dogma to embellish the portal, the question at the gate remains: „How much discourse can an aesthetic feeling take, and which one?“
Our Sommerakademie revolves around social constraints and the aesthetic practice of „artistic productivity”. However a „reality shock“ for the media-savvy public is not excluded.
Brigitte Felderer, Herbert Lachmayer
Faculty chair Sommerakademie 2007