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WochenKlausur uses infrastructure and financial support of cultural institution in order "... to initiate and accelerate political and administrative problem-solving procedures."(1) Therefore it works 8 to 12 weeks concentrated on site in weeks of closure to solve a concrete problem of local relevance. Their energies are concentrated which "normally are distributed over months,...".(2)
Wolfgang Zinggl, artist
First WochenKlausur took place between june - august 1993, all in all 15 interventions since then
between 20,000 Euros and 70,000 Euros per intervention
WochenKlausur is a Viennese group of artists and scientists with constantly changing membership, which attempts to use socially activist art to bring about "changes in social deficits" and therefore "long-term improvements of communal life".(3) In doing so, the "myth of art"(4) helps to successfully attain these intentions. In all, more than 40 artists have been involved.
Invited by a cultural institute which as a rule determines the overriding subject of the work, WochenKlausur first of all elaborates a concrete concept for interventions. For the period of the closed meeting the cultural institution bears the costs and provides the infrastructure.
During the closed meeting a supporting model has to be found for the time afterward, if this does not happen then the intervention is regarded as having failed.
Not only the temporary aspects of Wochenklausur might be interesting but also its catalytic function for social processes. It uses varied tactics in order to achieve its aims and searches for scopes in an adverse environment: In this sense Wochenklausur can be called a tool.
Pascale Jeannée wrote: "Elaborate tricks, or new and unorthodox approaches are often needed in order to implement the project."(5)
In Ottensheim (Intervention for Town Development) the needs of the inhabitants were ascertained with the aid of questionnaires, supported by thorough analyses and interviews. After the creation of interest groups and a final presentation, a catalogue of measures was left behind which served as the working basis for the development of the town. WochenKlausur gave the impulse for coming to terms with the subject of town development and left behind it a communication structure.
During the first intervention, an editor of 'Spiegel' pretended to be doing research about a WochenKlausur intervention (Doctors Bus Louise). Although this did not correspond to the facts, he nevertheless managed to put pressure on the municipal councillor of that time and thus to pave the way for the project. Today the Doctors Bus is still active in providing free treatment for homeless people in Vienna even today.
In Civitella dAgliano, club premises were obtained for Circolo Anziani, the Communist association for senior citizens, which had previously failed to obtain facilities due lack of funds. Money was raised by taking advantage of the annual town festival to put up a screen measuring 6x4m with a medieval view of the town painted on it and offering inhabitants and visitors to have their photographs taken in front of it. The prints were then sold and in this way money was obtained for part of the furnishings for the club premises. The success also increased the pressure on the local council politicians.
The spectacle is never an end in itself, but always the medium. The various strategies naturally overlap within the individual projects. What can be ascertained is that the action on site evokes an unusual and direct solution to a problem.
(1) Helmut Mayer, NZZ 25.08.2001
(2) Wochenklausur_Gesellschaftspolitischer Aktivismus in der Kunst Springer Wien/New York, page 8
(3) Ibed., p. 8
(4) Ibed., p. 132
(5) Ibed., p. 8
Wochenklausur_Gesellschaftspolitischer Aktivismus in der Kunst, Springer Wien/New York, ISBN 3-211-83414-1
Interview with Wolfgang Zinggl, initiator and 'chief' of WochenKlausur on 28.01.2003