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
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