institut fünfhaus
Das institut fünfhaus dient zur Umsetzung und Präsentation zeitgenössischer Musik als interdisziplinäre Kunstform und stellt sich zur Aufgabe, die bislang ästhetischen Positionen im Dialog mit Video, Foto, Film. Text, Internet etc. weiterzuentwickeln. Die langjährige Tätigkeit der dem Institut assoziierten Personen (wie Werner Dafeldecker, Christof Kurzmann und Burkhard Stangl) und Labels (charhizma records, durian records) auf internationaler Ebene und die dadurch bedingte Beeinflussung des künstlerischen Diskurses bedüfen einer, den aktuellen Entwicklungsprozess transparent machenden, kontinuierlichen Darstellung auf lokaler Ebene und sind zentrales Anliegen dieser Institution.

the purpose of institute fünfhaus is to facilitate the implementation and presentation of contemporary music as an interdisciplinary art form. It is committed to taking existing aesthetic positions a step further in dialogue with video, photography, film, text, the Internet, etc. The many years of experience of the people (such as Werner Dafeldecker, Christof Kurzmann and Burkhard Stangl) and labels (charhizma records, durian records) associated with the institute on an international level and the related influence on artistic discourse call for a continuous presentation on a local level that elucidates the current process of development. Promoting this kind of transparency is one of the institute's central concerns.


saturday, 14. september 2002

symposium: "interdepences between art, music and politics"

14.00 christian scheib, a (curator musikprotokoll, oe1-zeitton)

15.00 ben ratliff, usa (new york times)

16.00 peter niklas wilson, d (musicologist, publicist)

17.00 christoph gurk, d (curator, ex chief editor spex)

18.00 podium with scheib, ratliff, wilson, gurk

opening performance:

tuesday, 08. october 2002

perlonex & schnee

Ignaz Schick (electronics & devices), Joerg Maria Zeger(guitars), Burkhard Beins (percussion) +
Burkhard Stangl (guitars), Christof Kurzmann (G3, Cl)

auf dieser seite gibt es bald mehr.
bis dahin:
durian
charhizma

The Economy of Aesthetics. Or: Political Relevance of Aesthetic Attitude

By Christian Scheib
Obviously we are meeting here at Institut Fuenfhaus at mq21 because a group of artists has set an initiative, or rather several initiatives. And it is as obvious that these initiatives – labels, institutes, platforms – have a decisively public appearance. Probably this leads pretty directly to the title of this meeting: art and music is what is done, politics is what it is done in. The latter might exactly be the problem. In nowadays discussions there seems to be some common sense about the fact that politics – at least in a traditional sense of the word – does hardly exist anymore in a system built on „new economy“. National politics in our old way of understanding meant setting rules, giving a framework of standards built on convictions of democratic societies. Nowadays „politics“ has – as astonishing as this might be – reduced itself deliberately to a simple emotional stimulus for stock-exchange rates. This is politics then: an emotional input in economic processes. This may be observed in the behaviour of governments of super-powers as well as in the behaviour of cultural state departments of small countries. The ornament might be regarded as the origin of the arts, says Niklas Luhmann, but not the ornament in the sense of ornamentation, but the basic form principle of the ornament: the paradox of redundancy and variety at the same time. Only when these basic mechanisms began to reflect upon themselves so to say, the ornament developed into ornamentation versus art. Maybe we have something like a reverse process to observe: As long as art and politics reflected upon themselves as art and politics, there was art and something else in the 20th century. „Art is art. And everything else is everything else“ was Ad Reinhardt’s very strict way of expressing this by. But this balance of redundancy and variety got lost, it lost its discriminating power. A relationship of mutual exchange - interdependendies – started to be replaced by dependendies as functions. Some politicians are trying to provide emotional stimuli for stock-exchange-quotated industries by announcing or declaring war. More civilized ones are doing so by announcing new plans for fighting against unemployment. These politics are not in exchange with economic processes any more, they are a mere function of economy. And according to the same mechanisms, there is not art and something else in some kind of exchange with each other any more. There seems no „something else“ left, or maybe no art. Everything is just a function of something. Artists have lost – this is the argumentation one can find often during the last years referring to these processes – their privileged role of producing some symbolic surplus value for society. For better or worse: This is why in the pop-culture age the BMW-door-sound-designer seems to have no basically different function for the aural experiences of society than pop-singers or new music improvisers. They provide acoustic functions for highly specialized situations. Of course defining the various functions for various contexts must be the next step, in order to get back some meaningful discrimination. In order to gain some distance to these direct functions of art and music in society, we might use the term aesthetics for a while. So since politics and art have dissolved into economic functions, let us – in the sense of redundancy and variety – transform „Interdependencies between art, music, and politics“ into „Simple and practical relationships between aesthetics and economy“. Decisions are taken all the time in the music-business. And they are always motivated by a complex bundle of aesthetic and economic motives, just to name these two. No matter what we are talking about: establishing a label, organizing a platform, programming a festival, awarding prizes, producing broadcast shows, managing music-publishing-houses, providing scholarships and grants, editing music-encyclopedias, writing music, founding a band: For each of these activities another set of rules is valid, and some of these sets of rules might be pretty contradictory to each other. The relationship between aesthetics and economy might be most interesting to observe in those cases, that need some kind of artistically identifiable contents – symbolic capital – in order to be become part of an economy and in order to stay within it: Small labels for example or festivals. But since any definiteness or unambiguity has vanished during the past years and has been replaced by identities that have to be formed again and again, managing a label or organizing a festival also got more complex. Maybe one should shortly remember that 30 or 20 twenty years ago ideas began to spread that were called postmodern. The big, consistent, unitary narrative had been identified as non-existing. It may not have been in the foreground of the perception, but obviously these analyses of the deconstructed whole go hand in hand with the observation of the vanishing of the old monopolies, like the state including politics, like the art including music. It is the theory of deregulation. Deregulation might not be an artistic but an economic procedure, but since artistic developments are part of and sometimes even functions of economic processes, they take part in the same deregulating mechanisms. Instead of clearly defined artistic domains and genres there have been developed strange hybrids and mixes, and now there follows a short recount deliberately mixing things that just seem to be independent from or even opposed to each other. The mix shall hint at the fact that it might be enlightening to avoid applying any quick good-and-evil patterns: Gattungsauflösung, Grenzüberschreitung, Cross-over, Edutainment, Event. The dissolution of the old separated genres into intermedia and multimedia and other freely floating combinations beyond old aesthetic rules; the overcoming of strict boundaries between scenes and styles, and also Cross-over, Edutainment, Event-Marketing. Everything can by subject to event-marketing, as long as the context makes it plausible to those who can earn reputation, money or one via the other. Deregulation of aesthetic principles as well as economic monopolies has incredibly widened the possibilities by cross-linking and superceding phenomena in weird as well as in consistent ways. Dependencies rise, casualness decreases. Contingency rises, unambiguity vanishes. Some celebrate, some moan. Some celebrate and moan. In the course of these developments the role of label-runners, festival-curators and other music-managers seem to have gained importance dramatically. Everything is organized according to the principle of brand-names as a way out and somebody has to implement them. Just very few of those organizers dare to stick with a strict aesthetic identity, which in this context means to stake everything on one card. In an Austrian context this might be true for small festivals like Ulrichsberg, Nickelsdorf, or Bludenz, or for labels like Durian, Grob or to a certain extent even Kairos. But seen from the point of view of a deregulated context working according to economic principles, even this build-up of aesthetic identity obviously is just a highly specialized way of gaining capital in its symbolic form. And there is nothing per se positive in this sticking to just your own preconfigured aesthetic mind-set. It only might become “positive” in the sense of productive by – for example – being invested in the search for relevant and renewing artistic developments. This looking for the next new development or wave on the other hand is not too far away from egomaniac over-estimation of the abilities of curators permanently inventing new trends and themes. In contrast to this another type of organizer might even seem like a relief for a moment: The pragmatic music-manager mixing his own obsession – which might be stuff difficult to sell – with contents simply working in the markets and in marketing. But again this is not too far away from managers misusing art as raw-material for marketing mainly their own name. (And obviously one of nowadays main problems of bigger companies is the total lack of managers with any obsession in the field of music or art at all. But this leads to another story.) An understanding of these different types of work as a variety of forms of investment in order to keep up the real or symbolic stock-exchange-rate also hints at another change that has taken place. Obviously music historically always and exclusively has grown within a certain social context. In other words it needs to be needed in order to develop. It is always helpful here in Vienna to bring back to memory that a building like the famous Musikverein, built in the late 19th century, in its interior not only looks like a golden temple, it also was conceived as one. Doing the famous Sunday matinee concerts right while everybody should or could go to church – Sunday morning – obviously makes this golden temple to a very explicit sign directed against St.Charles Church on the other side of the place (and to every other church of course.) In other words: The Bourgeoisie needed a temple for Brahms and Bruckner in order to demonstrate their autonomy from Feudalism and Catholicism. Being part of the opening ceremony of the biggest museum for contemporary art ever built in this country one might ask analogue questions: Who is demonstrating his power to whom and needs the art for it. Another mere function, of course. But – and this leads back to the mentioned changes – there is no social class in the old bourgeois-sense of the word acting nowadays, but instead of that maybe a certain middle-class-social-self-understanding consisting of and relying on more or less autonomous entities in deregulated contexts. Instead of an idea of social classes there is a self-understanding of various communities. It fits perfectly in this picture of free-floating significances that the term „community“ has gained such an untouched place value for a while. But in a strange way that leads back to disappeared politics. Communities may fight for interests, mostly for their own interests respectively, even political interests, but there is no common political understanding of a large „we“ any more, no politics in the “old” sense. Instead of that the activities of the various communities might be analyzed according to these mentioned different variety of forms of investment in order to keep up the real or symbolic stock-exchange-rate. At his point we should remember that this multiplication and cross-linking of social scenes and aesthetic systems has enlarged possibilities and reduced unambiguity, which also means it spoiled the existence of reliable aesthetic criteria, or at least of what once seemed to be reliable criteria. The loss of the predefined in economic but even more so in aesthetic respect not only encreases insecurity but also responsibility. One might doubt it, but maybe within exactly that there is a chance to find a way for reinventing redundancy and variety as self-reflecting categories producing again an interdependence between artistic and political acting, based on simple relationships between aesthetics and economy. To put the long story in nutshell: To reinvent a relationship between art and politics. But in any case in these days one moves in a field of an economy of aesthetics. Gaining political relevance seems to be possible solely via investing one’s own aesthetic attitude. That sounds pervert but just because of that I wish all the people working at Institut Fuenfhaus to build up effective symbolic capital in working in the intersection between art, music, and politics.