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Linz Theses on Freedom of Expression and Dialogue


In a joint letter, Mayor Dr. Franz Dobusch and City Councillor for Cultural Affairs Dr. Reinhard Dyk issued an invitation to the leading cultural institutions of Linz to take part in the "Day of Culture: Freedom of Expression and Dialogue."

Subsequently, the directors of the Theatre of the Province of Upper Austria, the Brucknerhaus, the Gallery of the Province, the Ars Electronica Center, the autonomous culture centre Stadtwerkstatt and the autonomous Theatre Phönix formed a working group with the aim of preparing a coherent and publicly effective concept of the 5th of May.

"Linz Theses on Freedom of Expression and Dialogue"

In the course of a meeting on December 6th, organized by the Department of Culture for the City of Linz, the directors of these institutions agreed definitely on a concept for the event with the working title "Linz Theses on Freedom of Expression and Dialogue." The contents of the program for the 'Day of Culture' are concentrated on the following focal points:


Procedure for the Project

The decision-makers (directors) from the leading cultural institutions of Linz will enter into a dialogue with school project groups to determine topical aspects of the theme "Freedom of Expression and Dialogue" together with the school students.

The results of the discussions and projects will lead to the formulation of individual theses.


Thematic Focal Points of the Project Groups

Ethnic minorities' use of media

Internet - free access to information for everyone?

Austrian media landscape

"Degenerate art"


With this initiative, the network of former, current and future European Cities of Culture and Cultural Month cities, "ECCM" for short, in which Linz is also involved, launches an unequivocal signal for the inviolability of artistic freedom of expression. It is, at the same time, an emphatic sign against any attempts of censorship and suppression.

The idea of putting a cultural spolight on European cities was conceived by Melina Mercouri in 1983. The international network of cities ECCM (netowrk of European cities of culture and cultural month) developed out of it. The aim is to foster dialogue among the various European cultures and to respect the resultant diversity of expression. To further expan this collaborative community, in July 1999 under the patronage of the Greek Minister for Culture Elisabeth Paparzoe, the 5th of May 2000 was declared the "European Day for Freedom of Expression and Dialogue."

On the "Day of Culture" cultural institutions and initiatives from 24 ECCM member cities - between Stockholm and Thessaloniki, Glasgow to Athens - present their interpretations of this theme. This European event will also be networked through the Internet and presented around the world.

Linz: self-confident

The theme could not be more topical. Since the successful organization of the European Cultural Month in September 1998, the citz of Linz has remained dedicated to constructive and innovative involvement in the European art and cultural life. This is a self-confident step emphasizing the idea that Europe must be more than the conjunction of economic interests.

Linz Theses

In preparation for the "European Day of Freedomof Expression and Dialogue", quotations on this theme will be published in Upper Austria print media. On May 5th, coordinated by the Linz Department of Culture, 10 lively and involved cultural institutions and initiatives will present the theses on "freedom of expression and dialogue" developed in cooperation with school students from Linz in various public places and on buildings. The theses will be displayed using banners, videos, sounds, actions, video projections, digital and conventional media. The contents of the "working groups" focal points span a broad range.

From April 26 to May 21, 2000 there will be an exhibition at the Neue Galerie of the City of Linz on the 'Against war and violence'. A concentrated presentation of this exhibition will take place on May 5, 2000 as a focal point action for school students. The collection of graphics from the 20th century is fascinating, committed and orientated to contrasts. An extensive museumpedagogical program will provide a professional accompaniment to mediation work. In preparation, students from the secondary schools Khevenhüllergymnasium, Bundesrealgymnasium and Bundesrealgymnasium Auhof have prepared written and artistic reflections on the works. Excerpts of these will be made available to the general public and over the Internet for the duration of the exhibition.

The Bruckner Conservatory (institute of professional training for music and the performing arts) affirms diversity and intercultural exchange with an Open House on May 5th, 2000 from 9.30 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. An installation markes the places of birth of professors and students on a map of the world. At 5.30 p.m. excerpts from Igor Stavinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" will render the work of a soldier audible, whose life was ruined by war. Following this, a dance performance by Andreja Kumpar shows impressions gathered by a choreographer in Croatia in the time before the war. Beginning at 7.30 p.m., one of the most difficult periods of European post-war histroy will be addressed. Christine Brückner reads "Kein Denkmal für Gudrun Ensslin. Rede gegen die Stammheimer Zelle" ("No Monument for Gudrun Ensslin. Speech against the cell in Stammheim"), a confrontation with the thoughts and emotions of a RAF terrorist.

The AEC (Ars Electronica Center - Museum of the Future) investigated "Freedom of Expression and Dialogue on the Internet" in workshops. Speficially, the fields of interests of ordinary users on the one hand and content providers on the other were filtered and compared. Resume: the distribution of information needs to be dealt with responsibly. Workshops were held with students from the secondary school Berufsschule 6 in Ferhumerstrasse, and web sites were created on the question of the "limits of the freedom of expression on the Internet." On May 5th the students will present their work at AEC to other students, the results can be viewed on the Internet all over the world. (URL wil be announced by April 27, 2000).

The project group Upper Austrian Landestheater and the secondary school Bundesrealgymnasium Hamerlingschule Linz presents its theses on the theme of "Freedom of Expression and Dialogue in the Theatre" to the public for discussion on the "European Day for Freedom of Expression and Dialogue" at 5.00 p.m. at the Theater Casino. Following this, interested students and young people are invited to a performance of "Fiddler on the Roof" at the Landestheater.

The City Center as a Stage

Projects for May 5, 2000 by the O.K. Center for Contemporary Art, the Gallery of the Province of Upper Austria, the autonomous cultural initiative Stadtwerkstatt, the independent Theater Phönix, Brucknerhaus (concert house) and the Art University will be raising awareness in the public space of the city center of Linz throughout the whole day. In the main square, at the old city hall, along the main shopping street and at the main train station of Linz, passers-by will be confronted with theses on the theme of "Freedom Expression and Dialogue", which are not intended for a particular target group, but rather address everyone through a combination of art, communication and information.

The center for actions on May 5th, the "European Day for Freedom of Expression and Dialogue" is the main square of Linz. The Brucknerhaus and school students from the classes 8b and 7c of the secondary school behind along the lines of "Art is: Leaving Traces" Radio FRO (Free Radio Upper Austria) will broadcast features from the school students on this theme and a CD produced by the Stadtwerkstatt and school students from the secondary school Handelsakademie Urfahr / Class 3 from a radio corner in the old city hall.

The joint project by the Stadtwerkstatt, Theater Phönix and the Art University with school students from the secondary school Handelsakademie Urfahr on the theme of "Racism and Xenophobia" will publically present opinions of passers-by and students on this theme with a video and a CD. In addition, a video on the theme of "Tolerance", created and produced by the O.K. Center for Contemporary Art and participants from NAP WIFI Linz (national plan of action for employment at the continuing education center Wirtschaftsförderungsinstitut Linz) uses the video projection to provoke a discussion to provoke a discussion of minorities among the public.

"Alles Ansichtssache" ("It All Depends on Your Point of View") confronts chance passers-by in Landstrasse, the main shopping street of Linz, with subjective truths. Three identically arranged pictures, each with a different text, are presented on poster stands. The respective texts tell stories that evoke different emotions. The Gallery of the Province of Upper Austria and school students from the secondary school Bundesrealgymnasium Honauerstrasse thus pose varying interpretations in public space and appeal to understanding, truth and tolerance. The reactions and opinions will be additional documented on video.

Other locations are the main train station of Linz and various businesses in the city center, where other videos created especially for this day will be shown. In addition, buildings will be decorated with banners and information brochures will raise public awareness of the theme "Freedom of Expression and Dialogue."

May 7, 2000: The Wiener Philharmoniker in Mauthausen

The memorial concert of the Wiener Philharmoniker (Beethoven's 9th Symphony) in the former concentration camp of Mauthausen (by Linz), which will be broadcast world wide via video walls on May 7, 2000, will also be placed, in the agreement with the organizers, under the banner of "A Day for Culture, Freedom of Expression and Dialogue."

Linz Fest: May 27 and 28, 2000

At the traditional opening of the Upper Austrian Summer of Culture, all the documentations and banners from May 5th will be presented again, thus reminding the roughly 70,000 visitors once again of the "European Day for Freedom of Expression and Dialogue."


Organisations involved:

Linz Kultur

Mag. Siegbert Janko, Head of Department of Culure, City of Lnz

Mag. Christian Denkmaier, Project director - Cultural Month City 1998

Bruckner Haus

Wolfgang Winkler, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Brucknerhaus Linz


Ing. Gerfried Stocker, Arististic Manger of the Arts Electronic Centers

Neuen Galerie

Prof. Peter Baum, Director of the Neuen Galerie of the City of Linz

Land Oberösterreich

Dr. Peter Assmann, Director of the Gallery of the Federal Province of Upper Austria

Centrum für Gegenwartskunst

Mag. Martin Sturm, Director - O.K. Centrum for Contemporary Art


Dr. Michael Klügl, Director - Theatre of the Prov. of Upper Austria

Kunstuniversität Linz

OH. Prof. Mag. Ursula Hübner, Masterclass for Painting & Graphic Art


Stefan Kurovsky, Manager - Theatre Phönix


Dr. Gabriele Kepplinger, Autonomous Culture Centre Stadtwerkstatt


Ferry Öllinger, Kunstallianz - 'Art Alliance'

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