Kategorie: wearenot(only)sisi

We Are Austrians! Part 1. Day 2 – September 15, 2014

15. November 2014 - 22:15 Uhr

Previously on WeAreNotSisi: We received the key and freaked out, I sprayed a whole bottle of toxic Anti-Fungi-Chemical on the wall of the room with fresh-air-tanks and the bikes to fill them and Marieke Verkoelen dropped by to paint this toxic room afterwords. So while we were both diminishing our expectancy of life there, Andi was trying different ideas of how to hang the art (Note: bunker-walls are made of armoured concrete). Jay Tronic made pictures,  that should be with us soon.

Because of our long night after day 1, we did computer work at home on day 2, which needs no documentation. So let’s talk concept today for the first time. I’ve uploaded the original concept on the website (here) and as it is in German I just pick one point out of it once in a while and present it here. One of the goals of WeAreNOtSisi is to help to answer the question: Who actually  is this „We“ that is  Not Sisi? As we are talking about a project involving artists living and working in Austria, that is the logical first assumption: „We“ = „The Austrians“. Who on earth is that? Let’s get the first answer from those who know it best, because they have to sell Austria to the rest of the world: the Austrian Tourism-Industry. In a folder from April 2013, published by the “Österreich Werbung” we find an overview of the „genetic code“ of the Austrian. Here we go:

Here a little translation of what it says:
We are masters of the compromise that we inherited from the imperial Vielvölkerstaat.

Lockerheit – Looseness. We are relaxed. Easy-going.
zuvorkommend – obliging. We are courteous without being submissive.
Gefühl des Lebenlassens – adulating. We are good in making you feel at ease.
Lustvolle Unterhaltung – We have learned to treat strangers visiting us very well.
Gelassenheit – we look on the bright side of life.

Our mentality – “a melange of german organisation and thoroughness, the Slavic soul and the Hungarian, Bohemian and Italian way of life.

I think that’s enough for today, let’s envision what the Art may look like produced by those people until the Kick Off of the show in 2 days and see if it will be exactly as we expected.

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Key, Euphoria & Aleksandr Brener. September 14, 2014

14. November 2014 - 19:40 Uhr

After I have been working as a vrijwilliger a couple of times in the bunker, I knew that it is a very very very very intriguing but difficult place. You actually don’t have any chance to outplay it. It always wins. But once you know that, you can prepare yourself to at least get a draw in the fight Bunker vs. Guyswhothinkcoldanddustyspotwithoutsunlightisgreat. So I was prepared. Why was I prepared? Because Andi Hellweger came all the way from Austria to work 24/7 for the first 10 days of the project. What were his first impressions as he saw the room the first time that day? I’ll ask him and write it down here later.

We were lucky. After the Free Fringe Festival and the “My favorite F-Word”-exhibition the place looked more tidied up than I’ve ever seen it before. And still, once we began digging into the details a massive amount of work grew in front of us. NO. A massive amount of possibilities, which lead to the only possible reaction: Euphoria. So we were running around in the place like crazy, trying stuff, looking at every room a million times and inventing even more scenarios of what would be echt really really great. Obviously almost nothing of it happened in the end, but after our first full night in the Vondelbunker (it happened to be our last luckily) we knew that it will work out eventually.

Cheesy, isn’t it? How about that – the Facebook-Post at 01:15 a.m:

We received the key of the Bunker today. Still sitting there trying to grasp this mindblowing space (this feeling of amazement will not go away, as the bunker is different every day – no matter what happens there). Where to start: thanks to the pals from Schijnheilig for trusting us. Thanks to the organizers and artists from FreeFringe for great theatre (we couldnt see much, but toch iets) and for giving us the bunker with such good vibes and tidy as hell (is it tidy in hell?). Thanks to the Fucking Bastards for leaving the parels of the hellhole, we will treat them with the utmost respect. And thanks for the organizers and artists of the exhibition “My favorite F-Word” for waiting until tomorrow with removing the art. Program is still not online, deadline missed again, but we are working on it. … … .. . aren’t we?”?”?

Or this:

In the preface of the little special edition „Een deftige Parade“, published by „De Groene Amsterdammer“ on the occasion of an exhibition curated by Rudi Fuchs in Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden, museum director Meta Knol writes over a relevant exhibiton she only knows from the catalogue that supposedely stands in her bookshelf since ages: „Ik stel me de tentoonstelling voor als een visueel gedicht“. Which means something like: I envision the exhibition as a visual poem.

I like that idea, because it can – lets hope it does in this case – transform the ones that organize/curate/build an exhibition into poets. This is plausible, if you see the (real) poet as somebody who does not necessarily has to write poems or texts or words at all but as someone who becomes a poet by the way she or he talks, walks, sits, works. Or simply through the way she or he lives. If we see it like this, the poem and it’s creator(s) are more connected to a body and it’s presence than to a product of the mind. It is not a „creative mind“ that is so much embraced and loved by the money-industries these days but it is present as a moving, eating, drinking, shitting, pissing, sweating, laughing, dancing, crying, talking, kids-producing, thinking, mess-producing and up-tidying body that works on the poem in a space that in itself is always more than the ingenious „blank page“. No matter how white you paint the walls. (And without any doubt in a space like the Vondelbunker). If you take this seriously the whole working process (organizing, building up, opening, guiding through or „letting it see“, closing down, wrapping up, documenting)  becomes a poetic act, a form of “resistance in action” (I would obviously call it hinwegsetzung in action) an „ultra-active invasion into the world, an attempt to totally change it, to completely transform it“ as Aleksandr Brener put’s it in his text Obossanny pistolet, that he wrote while being in prison in the Netherlands, after spraying a dollar-sign on a painting of Kazimir Malevich in the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

If we dig into Breners’ further into Breners prison-notes about openness; poetry and action or democratic art we will find more about this obscure poet and what I see discribed here are I would call the “total artist”: People who „feel the grubbing of chaos under their soles like nobody else, the rolling of the heavenly bodies and the immobility of the sun. Highwaymen they are, Raging Rolands. Death follows their ways. This is not romantic tattle. Some people are related with the damp soil and not everybody manages to sit at the same table with them. […] They live from their passions, and this is a huge punishment, a heavy burden. […] They have something stubborn, something tremendously unruly.  […] And yet they are sensitive and unbelievably fragile and ready for an unreasonable infatuation that can be their undoing. This has all almost vanished from the face of the earth. Together with love, together with the Mensch.

In certain cases (the NotSisi case?) this positions can stand side by side with the more worldly idea of the curator beeing a catalyst and sparring partner that is helpful to artists as Hans-Ulrich Obrist put it in an Interview once.

We’ll see how this worked out…

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WeAreNotSisi = International Effort

16. August 2014 - 07:37 Uhr

The project evolves – and finally the new main text on the website presents it as what it turned out to be. A joint-venture of two collectives active in two different European cities – Hausbank and Schijnheilig. It is great to see how a simple and quite kleingeistig question like “What do I and others think about Austria” can lead to a vibrant international effort if all people involved dare to make this step. Indeed, not many meals cook well in their own gravy (Haha, I doubt that’s proper English – the artistic director of the Kremser Donaufestival said in an Interview that inspired this text: “Das Kochen im eigenen Saft tut nur ganz wenigen Gerichten gut”)  and it is great that we are able to cook many Süppchen at the same time and see how they match. Mo(o)izeit!


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37 days left – time to answer some FAQs

11. August 2014 - 20:39 Uhr

Money and time is running through our fingers and this can only mean one thing: we are getting there! We are excited like a bag full of hamsters and can’t wait for September 17 when WeAreNotSisi will receive guests for the first time in the Vondelbunker. The program for the three weeks will be live soon, as well as the posters and other goodies that help to spread the word. For now we answered some FAQs about WeAreNotSisi. Check it out.

1) What is WeAreNotSisi?
It is an exhibition-project in the Vondelbunker in Amsterdam. It lasts three weeks and
in those three weeks works of art will be shown from 25 artists who live and work in Austria. As the Vondelbunker is small and because the programm of the venue goes on, the exhibition is a rotating one.

2) What is a „rotating exhibition“?
It means that each individual work of art will not be public in the bunker all the time and will not be at the same spot all the time. Some works move within the Vondelbunker, some develop while the exhibition is on, some will only be seen for a very short period of time. There will be a thorough documentation of these changes that will be visible on the website www.wearenotsisi.com.

3) What kind of art can I expect?
Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Performance, Design, Computer-Art, DIY-Madness, Video and stuff not fitting in any genre really.

4) Are the artists participating students/young/old?
It is a mix. Some just finished art-acadamy and are at the beginning of their carreer, some are in the business for a couple of years now, but would still fit into the box „young artists“, some are well established artists exhibiting since 20, 30, sometimes even 40 years.

4) How did „WeAreNotSisi“ start?
The concept and idea for the exhibition is from Manuel Schmaranzer. He moved from Vienna to Amsterdam last year and was surprised about the picture the Dutch had about Austria – being a stage for Apres-Ski-Parties and imperial Sisi-Fairy-Tales in a flawless Sound-of-Music decor.
In addition he was surprised about the answers he himself gave on questions addressed to him, because the longer he was away from home the more those answers seemed not to fit the „real picture“. So he invited artists living in Austria to show the Dutch how they deal with the issue of „Me“ and „We“.

5) What is „WeAreNotSisi“ aiming for?
a) To provide the participating artists with the freedom and space to do what they want.
b) To establish a project that goes beyond common ideas on what „an art exhibiton“ could be.
c) To connect the independent Dutch and Austrian (art-)scenes.
d) To start a process that leads into an exhibtion in Austria in autumn 2015.
e) To provide the participating artists with the freedom and space to do what they want.

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Facebook – Server – Holiday

31. Juli 2014 - 14:25 Uhr

Dear Friends of WeAre NotSisi,

after thinking and re-thinking, we do have a Facebook-Account now and WeAre NotSisi is happy to become friends with all the blue-blooded people out there – check it out.


Apart from that we are happy to collect material from which you think it could be a contribution to the website, please contact us via office{at}wearenotsisi.com to exchange files. We will have a lottery and all the contributors get the chance to win something original. We do not want to use youtube, etc. to present the audio, video, pics, texts. But we will do it directly from the website, storing the files on our dear server which lies safe and cool approx. 666 metres beneath Viennas’ Saint Stephan’s Cathedral. Thanks to netm for providing this exclusive service.


But before all that – - – a break. WeAre NotSisi is back August 10 and can’t wait to have loads of “Freundschaftsanfragen” or an exploding inbox after the return from the analogue world. So long…

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Inofficial Concept Online

13. Juli 2014 - 08:07 Uhr

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FUCK! And Not F**k! Nor F***! Nor ****! Nor **ck! Nor F*ck! Nor Fuc*! Nor *uck! Nor *uc*! Nor F*c*! Nor *u*k! Nor ***k! Nor Fu*k! Nor Fu**! Nor **u*! Nor **c*!

12. Juli 2014 - 09:39 Uhr

The weekly magazine „De Groene Amsterdammer“ published a double-issue with the title „Me, my selfie and I“ on July 3, dealing with the so-called ego-era where we are supposed to live in now.

In this issue Rob Wijnberg, editor-in-chief of de Correspondenta Dutch-language, online journalism platform that focuses on background, analysis, investigative reporting, and the kinds of stories that tend to escape the radar of mainstream media because they do not conform to what is normally understood to be ‘news’, wrote in his coloumn about what he would have written if he was not obeying the rules of the ego-era by delivering just what the target group wants. An era, where „your needs are the question and its satisfaction is the answer.“
He uses an intriguing picture, stating that politics, journalism and education, promise to be windows to the world while actually working just like mirrors. „While we think we are looking at the world we see ourselves.“ With the result of creating a human beeing that is more satisfied than ever before as an individual while feeling greatest unease about the society he is in.
Even though I did and do ask for subsidies for WeAreNotSisi, I do not feel the slightest need to mirror a sentiment from the ones that provided some cash for this project. Here the Austrian way of providing subsidies is still much less strict and bound to rules than it is in the Netherlands (as far as I could experience until now.) I have the feeling that we can do whatever we want and even though we would do it anyway (obviously) and live with the consequences, it is a better feeling than otherwise. And the „target group“? I guess the Vondelpark is home of a very diverse group of people and we have far too little contacts here in the city to feel any need to meet an expectation. So it is fertile ground for freedom to do what we want, fertile ground for becoming a window instead of a mirror.

I guess this is relevant if we really live in an „ego-era“, because I can imagine that in this case many people want to see art as a mirror or as a kind of supportive crutch for some tingling self-reflection – but for me that is not what WeAreNotSisi should be about.


Wijnberg, Rob: „Nog nooit zo tevreden“.
De Groene Amsterdammer, Nr.27-28, Jaargang 138, 3 Juli 2014
Translations by M.S.

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WEBSITE ONLINE – Let the party begin

9. Juli 2014 - 14:35 Uhr

We did not only find a place to stay and people who will work with us

(Thank you very much people of Schijnheilig, Nulpunt and DeVondelbunker),

but also a “unique tool for web publication & samizdat”

(Thank you very much people of hotglue.me).

So the groundwork is done and we can finally start with the real stuff.

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the austrian soul – die österreichische seele.

2. Juni 2014 - 13:29 Uhr

Erwin Ringel

more info: http://radiokulturhaus.orf.at/artikel/373351

Aus Anlass des 20. Todestages von Erwin Ringel: Ein Symposion zu Österreichs Selbstverständnis und dessen (tiefen)psychologischen Wurzeln.

Österreichische Seele – reloaded
Montag, 2. Juni 2014
18:00 Uhr
Großer Sendesaal
Eintritt: frei bei Anmeldung im Kartenbüro unter (01) 501 70-377 oder radiokulturhaus@orf.at

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wearenotsisi #1

28. Mai 2014 - 19:24 Uhr
sisi has taken over hausbank and she knows no mercy.
Stay tuned for the latest news on the werarenotsisi-show in amsterdam

VISIT THE WEBSITE www.wearenotsisi.com

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