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programthematic project seriessymposium

introduction : concept : artistic contributions : symposium : on the way to: From/To Europe
ON THE WAY TO: FROM/TO EUROPE [#1] [#2] [#3] [symposium] [photo documentation]
Jochen Becker for metroZones


Rock el Casbah
Bourdieu, Algier, Bern, Banlieue

Symposium: 22./23. April 2006

22. April, Saturday:
14.00 – 18.00: lectures and discussions
20.00 – 22.00: Filmprogram with Remember Resistance (Berlin)

23. April, Sunday:
12.00 – 18.00: lectures and discussions

First Symposium in the Second Series of Thematic Projects
Colonialism without Colonies?
Relationships between Tourism, Neocolonialism, and Migration

Productive Differences: An Attempt to Locate within the Discourse

Symposium: December 17, 2005, 3:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Shedhalle, Zurich
Conception: Curating the Shedhalle in Collaboration with Backstage*Tourismus

Martina Backes
Christian Kravagna
Ramona Lenz
Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff
Michael Zinganel
Peter Spillmann

The first symposium in the second series of thematic projects Colonialism without Colonies? Relationships between Tourism, Neocolonialism, and Migration makes an attempt to explore (touristic) productions of space and images against the backdrop of a multidimensional colonial matrix. Both approaches deriving from postcolonial theory and methods and analyses from the context of tourism theory are considered together and juxtaposed. This gives the symposium a bipartite, dialogical form.

Preceding from the postcolonial theory’s deconstruction of reductionist binary attributions of identity and the increasing differentiation of global systems as a result of the circulation of people, data, and goods, which has established a rhizomatic movement in lieu of linear structures with fixed points of reference, the goal of the symposium is to explore interconnections of the (visual) production of desire and meaning and (power) structures of social space. It will examine the questions of the extent to which the mixing and shifting of determinations and experiences of difference can be read out of a dynamic of movement and localization in visual production in the media and in real space and how it can be put to use for other/new models of identity.

With a view to such questions, the symposium presents research approaches derived from postcolonial theory and tourism theory, relates them to critical analysis of the commercial visual worlds of advertising and the tourist industry (Martina Backes) or to the possibilities and limits of artistic reflections on history (Christian Kravagna), questions the longevity of stereotypes of Orientalism and their shift in meaning since September 11 (Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff), reflects on the significance of difference in the touristic space (Michael Zinganel), analyzes the inner-European ethnological perspective on the linking of processes of tourism and migration in the Mediterranean region (Ramona Lenz), and sketches strategies for observing local globalized settings from the perspective of the parties involved (Peter Spillmann).

In the face of multilayered and multiperspectival settings of quotidian culture and social relationships - for example, of the sort found in tourist spaces, and in all the other places that justify their identities in a deliberate distinction from the globalized universal one - our own multidisciplinary, discursive, and cultural practice is once again confronted with the question of how to locate sensibly our own work and handle appropriately the widest possible range of interested parties and their various motivations and perspectives. In that spirit, the symposium is also intended as a stimulus to think relevant critical positions beyond the opposition of high of low.

3:00 p.m.
Greeting and Introduction
Multiperspective Views and Their Agents:
Two Films and Commentary
Lötschenthal (1916)
Hotel Palace (1928)

Part 1:
3:30 p.m. Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff (Trier)
4:00 p.m. Christian Kravagna (Vienna)
4:30 p.m. Martina Backes (Freiburg im Breisgau)



Part 2:
5:30 p.m. Michael Zinganel (Vienna)
6::00 p.m. Ramona Lenz (Frankfurt am Main)
6:30 p.m. Peter Spillmann (Zurich)


Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff
Following a brief introduction on the history of exhibition practices and their positioning and the jointly responsible production of postcolonial discourse, Schmidt-Linsenhoff examines the boundaries of representational criticism in the context of the stereotyping in the criticism of Orientalism.

After thirty years of criticism of Orientalism and the artistic deconstruction of visual stereotypes of Orientalism, since September 11 the updating of some of the crudest images in political speech and in the collective imagination can be observed in art and popular culture. The stereotypes of colonial culture have by no means disappeared; on the contrary, they are more effective today than they were in the 1970s and 1980s, for example. Schmidt-Linsenhoff concentrates on the image of the veiled Muslim woman and seeks to pursue its transcultural wanderings beyond genre boundaries and between art and war photography. She is interested in the question why the artistic strategies of postmodern irony and the critique of representation not long seem to be sufficient and what new strategies might be identified.

Viktoria Schmidt-Linsenhoff is professor for art history at the Universität Trier. Since 1997 her work has been focused on gender and postcolonial studies, and she has examined related questions in the history of art from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. She is concerned with intersections and metaphorical shifts between cultural and sexual difference and structural analogies in the visual construction of identity and alterity. Schmidt-Linsenhoff has coedited several interdisciplinary anthologies on such questions and is currently working on a monograph: Ästhetik der Differenz: Koloniale Gegendiskurse in der Kunstgeschichte vom 17. bis 21. Jahrhundert. The focus is on the question of the relationship between art and cultural difference, which affects not only contemporary art under the sign of globalization processes but also the colonial regimes of the gaze of earlier art history since the age of discovery and the Eurocentric canon of art historical writing. Schmidt-Linsenhoff is a speaker in the graduate lecture course "Identität und Differenz: Interkulturalität und Geschlechterdifferenz" and cofounder of the Centrum für Postcolonial und Genderstudien at the Universität Trier. Through guest professorships at non-European universities (e.g., Cotonou, Benin) she tries to expand the horizons of Anglo-American dominated postcolonial and gender studies.

Christian Kravagna
Setting out from a critical consideration of the exhibition The Brazilian Expedition of Thomas Ender - Reconsidered at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna, this lecture addresses the possibilities and limits of artistic reflection on history. From a postcolonial perspective, the meaning of historical practices of traveling, describing, and collecting for present conceptions of identity and difference will be examined. Not only is it necessary to ask the question of where to locate Austria (as a country without colonies) on the postcolonial map, but it is also necessary to consider the powerful effect that traditional forms of representation have on current projects of the (critical) depicition imperialist praxis and colonial consciousness.

Christian Kravagna is an art historian, critic, and curator. He is currently guest professor at the Institut für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften at the Akademie der bildenden Künste in Vienna. He has edited Privileg Blick: Kritik der visuellen Kultur (Berlin: ID-Verlag, 1997), Agenda: Perspektiven kritischer Kunst (Vienna: Folio Verlag, 2000); and Das Museum als Arena: Institutionskritische Texte von KünstlerInnen (Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2001). Most recent exhibition: Routes: Imaging Travel and Migration, Grazer Kunstverein, Graz, 2002.

Martina Backes
Multicultural is hip - and at the same time a political concept. How the concept is to be understood is not just negotiated in the social debates over the integration of "foreigners" or by way of multiple identities of migrants and the postmodern individual. Advertising and the social practice of traveling also participate in this process. The tradition of traveling generated and anchored in society a knowledge of cultural differences that went hand in hand with a broad dissemination of visual culture for distinguishing between the familiar and the foreign. Today, the postmodern vagabonds, which is how many of the travelers see themselves, frequently claim a monopoly on cosmopolitan attitudes. It is created by means of selective borrowings and by integrating not only "foreign culture" but also the marginal and subversive into one’s own world of consumption and experience. The capitalist and ideological exploitation of the multicultural is revealed through advertising texts and images. There, if not sooner, it becomes evident how the concept of multiculturalism is tied to a praxis of hegemony and power that also characterized colonial discourse.

Martina Backes, Ph.D. in biology, journalist. Since 1999 at the iz3w (informationszentrum dritte welt), project coordinator for FernWeh: Forum Tourismus & Kritik. She worked in eastern Africa for several years. Thematic emphases: developmental aid policy, tourism, social conceptions of nature, and postcolonial discourses.

Michael Zinganel
The tourist experience of individuals is traditional built on difference and on narratives of their experiences of and with this difference. As a result of the increasing mobility of travelers and service provides and of the increasing placelessness of once site-specific attractions, it seems that this difference is gradually becoming undone. Nevertheless, other differences are maintained or new differences constructed. At the same time, the tourist industry reflects global cultural shifts, but it also produces its own transformed patterns of perception and transformations in the global transfer of culture.

Michael Zinganel, studied architecture at the Technische Universität Graz followed by postgraduate studies in the Fine Arts Department of the Jan van Eyck Akademie Maastricht and a doctorate in history at the Universität Wien. From 1996 to 2003 he was a curator for visual arts at the Forum Stadtpark Graz; since 2001 he is assistant professor at the Institut für Gebäudelehre of the Technische Universität Graz, with lectureships and guest professorships at various Austrian universities; exhibitions and lectures in Austria and abroad. He lives and works as a cultural studies scholar, architecture theorist, artist, and curator in Graz and Vienna. Some of the emphasis in his work are "The Productive Power of Crime for the Development of Security Technology, Architecture, and City Planning" and more recently "Tourism as a Motor of the Transnational Transfer of Culture. Selected publications: with Matthias Marschik, Rudolf Müllner, and Georg Spitaler, eds., Stadion: Architektur, Politik, Ökonomie (Vienna, 2005); with Peter Spillmann, eds., Backstage*Tours. Reisen in den touristischen Raum (Graz, 2004); Real Crime: Architektur, Stadt und Verbrechen (Vienna, 2003).

Ramona Lenz
In the wake of decolonization processes in Africa and Asia, the non-European "Others" increasingly distanced themselves from the research of Western ethnologists. In the 1960s and 1970s, some of the latter began to concentrate on the residents of the Mediterranean region: the inner-European "Others." They primarily sought, and found, the traditional and original in the culture of these "Others." a corresponding look at Mediterranean counties is found in travel guides and vacation brochues. Here too the travelers were deprived of a movement in the same space and time. Many current developments, however, make such representations dubious, especially processes of migration, as this paper tries to show using examples from Crete.

Ramona Lenz is assistant lecturer at the Institut für Kulturanthropologie und Europäische Ethnologie at the Universität Frankfurt am Main. She is working on a dissertation entitled "Auswirkungen der europäischen Mobilitätsordnung auf die Produktion von Kultur in Tourismusregionen auf Kreta und Zypern."

Peter Spillmann
Now that, especially in the wake of John Urry’s Tourist Gaze, tourist sites and the everyday life of tourists have begun to be intensely analyzed, criticized, and illustrated under the aspect of the consumption of images and signs, it seems that the access to and the grappling with the parties involved in tourist settings has grown more complex, and with it the reflection on the role of theorists and artists as a specific set of players in this highly culturalized field. In contrast to research that focuses exclusively on images, performance-oriented approaches to tourist theory focus their attention on the front- and backstage actors, their motivations, interests, desires, and relationships and on the social-spatial settings in which they are staged, experienced, and lived. Succumbing to the temptations of the local, the originals and pioneers are soon found who seem to make the uniqueness of the location seem self-explanatory. But what about when normality dominates? A brief look at the problems of a very typical vacation spot in Switzerland.

Peter Spillmann, artist and exhibition organizer in changing projects and working contexts on themes like the economy, self-organized cultural practices, urbanism, and the cultural construction of landscape including: never look back (2001), Be Creative! Der kreative Imperativ (2003), Backstage*Tourismus (since 2004), TRANSIT MIGRATION / MigMap (2005). Cofounder of various self-organized projects (e.g., Labor k3000). From 2000 to 2002 artistic director of the exhibition Route Agricole / Expoagricole as part of the official contribution to agriculture section of Expo. 02. In 2003 - 4 member of the curatorial team of the Sixth Werkleitz Biennale: Common Property / Allgemeingut, in Halle (Saale). Lives in Zurich and Berlin.