The first meeting, Innsbruck

January 2005

Guests: Edit András, Boris Buden, Beral Madra, Iosif Király, Bojana Pejić, Anton Pelinka

The first event organized by tranzit Vienna took place January 2005 as a sort of »pilot« for further events in 2006 and 2007.

Friday Januray 19 2005.
Podium discussion at Galerie im Taxispalais

with Edit András, Iosif Király, Beral Madra, Bojana Pejić, Anton Pelinka and Georg Schöllhammer.

For some time, the discourse of the Balkans as a cultural and political reality has released counter-energies in south-eastern European regions – as the discourse of Central Europe once did in these parts – and fostered a new self-awareness among urban intellectuals and in art scenes. This self-awareness is built around the idea of a regional cosmopolitism beyond all nationalistic resentment. Large-scale exhibitions in German-speaking
countries, conferences such as »Understanding the Balkans«, local biennials, magazines and a number of cultural exchanges associated with new centres like Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia and, above all, Istanbul – which is included in the Balkan metaphor as the central metropolis – contradict the clichés about the Balkans that prevail in the media. These clichés mostly mix pictures of poverty, corruption, nationalism and backwardness, amalgamated with colourful folkloristic images and the sounds of turbo-folk.
How is this Balkan boom read locally, how does it present itself against the background of the current project of European unification and the discussions on Turkey as part of Europe, and what strategies – including artistic ones – can be developed through it or against it? Prominent artists and intellectuals from the Balkan region discuss these and other similar issues.

Saturday, 20th January 7 p.m.
Symposium in the country inn >Wilder Mann< in Lans.
Itook place outside the city in a rural, folkloristic, touristic setting. The choice of this venue points to another reality of regional discourses and politics of identity in present-day Europe. Here, we have asked our guests to think once more about the cuts and scars, the lost heroes and events in their local avant-gardes and to tell us stories of transgression, of local centrality and transfer, things that will be important for the framing of the collection. The tamadan, master of ceremonies and moderator at this symposium was Boris Buden, about whose latest book Slavoj Žižek has written: »The last decades have produced one central category of the life-world: >culture<. Why culture? – Well, what is a cultural lifestyle if not the fact, for example, that every December, in every house, and even on public squares there is a Christmas tree – even though we do not believe in Father Christmas? >Culture< is the name for all the things that we do and carry out without really believing in them, without >taking them seriously.< Boris Buden’s book strikes at the heart of the ideological confusion of the present day, and cuts through its Gordian Knot: >Der Schacht von Babel< creates a clean slate for a new beginning. For this reason, EVERYONE in our knowledge society should read it – and then change their life!«