Interview with the Rector of the University of Art and Design of Linz
AMRO and servus.at are very happy the University confirmed the partnership and continues giving support to Art Meets Radical Openness, an event that involves not only an europe-wide community, but also many local artists and students or alumni of the Art University.
We thanks once again the Institution that You are directing and we will take this as an occasion to address the values that we both believe are at the basis of the possible encounter between Art Practices and Radical Openness.
servus.at supports and develops since its beginning open source software and technologies, and we are happy that the philosophy behind this also enters the rooms of the university. Topics such as the open standards, cultures of sharing, democratization of knowledge and open science are also central in several other research institutions, as well as concretely using open source tools.
Here a few question for the Brigitte Hütter, Rector of the University of Art and Design of Linz,
DB: Which the benefits do you see, in giving more space to such a “radical openness” in the art university of Linz?
BH: We live in a world of digital transformation and questions of participation and democratic access to knowledge must be discussed in our university. The more so in the Corona Crisis.
The social responsibility of the University of Art and Design in Linz is reflected in many different ways: For example
• We participate in public discourses and initiatives.
• We create different exhibition formats
• We do art and knowledge transfer as an interactive process
• And we have many collaborations with institutions and initiatives of the civil society
• and finally, we deal with questions of diversity, the open commons and a lot of other topics.
AMRO happens this year as an experiment of remote festival based on open source technologies. We had to rethink the most of the formats for a remote audience, developing and finding out suitable technical solutions to realize different formats of digital relationships between individuals.
How much is important, in your opinion, NOT to be “just happy” with the mainstream commercial solutions, but rather try to tailor custom, independent, different ways of putting people in (digital) relations?
Let me give you an example:
At our university the study program Fashion & Technology aims to deal critically with the social relevance of fashion.
We discuss fashion as
• an instrument of differentiation,
• we are reflecting on design and production conditions
• and we discuss the relationship between body and medialized environment.
We understand fashion as a cross sectional matter and we consider the topic of sustainability on different levels.
• in dealing with different analog and digital methods,
• in understanding material and processes, and
• in sustainable actions from
◦ design to materials
◦ and from production conditions to distribution.
This years festival is centered around the topic of the climate emergency, an urgent issue that also touches the currrent situation of pandemic. The Art University included the topics of sustainability (of design, of entwicklung, of materials) and ecology (dealing with media, natural environments, and society) in its last development plan (Entwicklungsplan 2018-2024) and also in the upcoming one (2021-2027). How do you see the role of art that deals with sustainability and addresses the current climate emergency?
The ever-faster cycles of digitization make it necessary to contrast digital structures and products with intelligent and valid concepts of sustainability.
Sustainable action should be understandable, openly accessible and constant. Additionally, it needs artistic impulses to develop new forms.
Let me give you some topics to which artistically sustainable work relates to:
• knowledge transfer,
• big data and data visualization,
• sustainable design,
• open source and open science,
• media ecology,
• crowd sourcing
• or critical data design.
These topics do not only include technical understanding and theoretical connections, we are also practicing interculturality and interdisciplinarity
How can the art institution – possibly in cooperation with smaller bodies – stimulate the discussion about these themes in the didactic?
Artistic and scientific research can further develop things like media archives, media memory, their technologies and the related knowledge configurations.
For example, the Institute for Media works in various collaborations (Dorf.tv, AEC Campus, and so on) and produces a steadily growing stock of relevant perspectives, articles and contemporary documents. We make this theoretical- and practical work accessible for teaching.
Which could be the practical steps that follow a philosophical/artistic discussion in the daily life of artistic research?
It is about redefining the relationship between
• the environment and
• media technology
in a spectrum of critical ecology.
For example, the art university is working on expansion of the Center for Creative Robotics. Together with the LENTOS Art Museum we established the VALIE EXPORT Center. There we are building a digital documentation in the field of media and performance art. Many areas of training deal with the connection between digital transformation and its social relevance. The art university offers in the study program architecture for example with BASEhabitat a sustainable discussion about the way we plan, build, create and design our living spaces. These processes are directly related to the current ecological, economic, technical, social and political challenges.
Thank you very much for your time and support, dear Rector, we hope you find some time to come by at the festival. See you there...online!
Thank you, I wish you an exciting conference.