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The NEW Kunstsektion

The new Kunstsektion seeks to expose the ideological tradition of Austrian cultural policies on the level of public administration.

Ever since February 2000 and for the duration of the measures against Austria by 14 EU states, official Austrian politics has chosen a language suited to create the appearance of European normality. The coding of political language makes it difficult to decipher the true intentions behind a message. To this day, the ideological background of the People's Party (OEVP) is based on a backward-looking interpretation of Austrian identity that has its roots in the clerical-authoritarian dictatorship set up by this governmental party's forerunner organization. This is the point where the OEVP intersects with the historical tradition of the Freedom Party (FPOE), a party known for its particularly hostile stance vis-à-vis art and widely considered as successor organization of the former NSDAP.

The new Kunstsektion sees is main service in translating the content of Austrian cultural policies into comprehensible language. The pseudo-modernist terminology of the official Austrian cultural administration has been carefully placed into its proper context, while orthography and style have been faithfully restored in the spirit of historical Austro-fascism. This historical experience of language seems much better suited to expose the underlying values of an anti-modernist provincialism. The strange imagery used by conservative politicians in the inter-war period highlights the unbroken influence of the counter reformation that proliferates in all areas of public life.

The interest of the public and of representatives of cultural and political life has become evident in a wide response and a lively debate. Already at a very early state the announcements of the new Kunstsektion resulted in heated exchanges of opinion as well as extensive debates in various mailing lists. The numerous messages directed to the new Kunstsektion included some by prominent Members of Parliament and leading representatives of Austrian cultural and intellectual life. Reactions reached from protests against the bold fascistoid phraseology, to expressions of gratitude for this new cultural service, and even included an e-mail of the cultural spokesperson of the OEVP who asked for previous postings to be re-mailed.

The new Kunstsektion has designed a new logo for its purposes. This logo was offered for publication to artists and cultural institutions. Many among them made use of this offer. We are therefore pleased to see that renowned institutions from all over Austria have used the logo in their publications. These include all museums of the town of Krems, the Salzburg art periodical "kunstfehler", the well-known cultural center "kosmos.frauenraum" of Vienna, "die theater" of Vienna, the cultural center GUGG at Braunau, and many more. In addition, many artists insisted on putting up the logo of the new Kunstsektion in public locations across Austria.