Just do it!

Trad­ing cards /// 
Lim­it­ed edi­tion: 500 pcs., 105 x 59.5 mm, 200g off­set paper matt ///

Octo­ber 2005 ///

The Lentos has estab­lished itself with its unique archi­tec­ture in the urban devel­op­ment area. But the steady declin­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors make me think – which pur­pose does a pret­ty house have if hard­ly no one comes inside?“, so the recent state­ment of the may­or Franz Dobusch (Aus­tri­an Social­ist Par­ty), crit­i­ciz­ing the artis­tic and com­mer­cial lead­er­ship of the art muse­um LENTOS. The answer: A lot of crit­i­cal arti­cles in dif­fer­ent news­pa­pers against this banal reduc­tion of the dis­cus­sion by using the num­ber of vis­i­tors. And that’s so true! The 1st-May Day-parade of the Social­ist Par­ty Linz is not sim­ply can­celled just because few­er peo­ple are participating.

The idio­cy of rur­al life strikes mer­ci­less. Now the dis­cus­sion goes in to a strange direc­tion: how do we get bike-tourists of the “blue-danube-steamship­ping-com­pa­ny” to vis­it the LENTOS? What about exhibit­ing Pilo­ty, Defreg­ger or Egger-Lienz? Here we go: Fairs for elec­tron­ic house­hold appli­ance at the Ars Elec­tron­i­ca Cen­ter, the Urfaust at the The­ater Phönix, real operas of Wag­n­er at the Bruck­n­er­haus, the Posthof remains the same and the yel­low Linz City Express gets replaced by red Steyr-T80-trac­tors. And even more: a punch of col­ored LENTOS adds in Upper Aus­tri­an farm­ers news­pa­pers, spec­tac­u­lar crowd-puller-events like “Danube ships in flames”, art-part­ner­ships between Linz and Aigen/Schlägl, oblig­a­tory vis­its of muse­ums for kinder­garten-chil­dren (“Kids meet Mühl”) or indoor-pyro-shows in the LENTOS – every­thing just to raise the num­ber of visitors!

One can rec­og­nize the idio­cy of rur­al life also in this con­nec­tion, because instead of a debate on qual­i­ty-ori­ent­ed and pro­gres­sive muse­um-pol­i­tics are fol­low­ing three defen­sive reflex­es. First of all, the ref­er­ence to the sink­ing num­ber of vis­i­tors at com­pa­ra­ble insti­tu­tions after the open­ing-hype (and thus start­ing the dis­cus­sion about the num­ber of vis­i­tors); sec­ond, the announce­ment of “unique block­busters” in the fol­low­ing year (Zaha Hadid! Hel­nwein! … and with that per­pet­u­at­ing the dis­cus­sion about the num­ber of vis­i­tors); and third, the ref­er­ence to the unique­ness of the build­ing, mean­ing the loca­tion­al advan­tage because of urban devel­op­ing mea­sures. The dis­cus­sion about med­dling a munic­i­pal muse­um in the sur­round­ing art- and cul­ture scene is not hap­pen­ing (e.g. miss­ing inten­tion to con­nect with the “free art scene” or with free­lanc­ing artists).

It seems that the LENTOS is bend­ing, almost groan­ing under the vast of the provin­cial pol­i­tics, it is in dan­ger of trans­form­ing itself from a White Cube to a Light Cube, a shin­ing sar­coph­a­gus (for the actu­al­ly fresh mak­er-inputs like the “Just do it!”-exhibition). The sub­lime­ly mes­sages of the last exhi­bi­tion near­ly haven’t come up in pub­lic discourses.

The muse­um of the present and the future time can­not only be an insti­tu­tion­al­ized yard of the advanced cul­ture (any exchange pos­si­ble like alter­na­tive cul­ture / pop cul­ture / every­day life cul­ture / …) but has to become a local, region­al and inter­na­tion­al con­nect­ed pro­duc­tion machine, no, bet­ter: an offen­sive dis­course machine, no, even bet­ter: a Deleuz­ian war machine! Each sin­gle shin­ing pan­el of the LENTOS has to become a glow­ing plateau of iden­ti­ty, a small drone which brings the refer­ring con­tent of the LENTOS in all pos­si­ble and impos­si­ble polit­i­cal discourses.

(Pho­tos: qujOchÖ)