Issue 2/2001

You are the World


»You are the world!« – a catchword that can be heard everywhere today. It is part of the rhetoric of the globally active consumer and culture industries, but also a central element in the debate about universal human rights. It is used by right-wing demagogues to construct national feelings, as well as by emancipative movements demanding democracy and justice on an increasingly international level. What concrete circumstances, what contradictory realities are concealed behind the contradictory promises of this phrase? It is a question being examined today by artists from many different fields: filmmakers from China and Hong Kong who scrutinize the radical changes taking place both in a rural and an urban context, Argentinean theater projects telling of the traumas of dictatorship and globalization, social theoreticians from Europe who reflect critically on the »culturalization« of politics, and visual artists who take nationalism, racism, and migration as their themes. Their works reflect the tension between tradition and modernity in areas of conflict such as Lebanon following the civil war, or post-Soviet Armenia. Different sounds tell of the construction of national feelings – such as »turbo-folk« in Belgrade or Armenian »rabiz« –, and of diasporic identities, or cosmopolitan mobility – such as electronica at sites in Tijuana, Vienna or Buenos Aires. The protagonists of many of these works are subjects forced by the new neo-liberal regimes to individualize social risks. How do they see their relationship to locality/homeland/loco-motion, and their respective individual biographies? As being unstable, as a fragile »temporary construction«?

»You are the world,« the summer issue of springerin, which has been created in co-operation with the eponymous Vienna Festival for a special project at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna, examines these questions on thematic and geographic lines that would seem at first glance to be unconnected.