Mega-cool exhibition at the Künstlerhaus
We are just two and a half years into the new millennium but quite a bit has happened. Revolutions, financial crises, natural disasters and terrorist acts. The world in which children and young people are growing up in today is a world of extremes. But there are also superlatives to be found in language use – hip has become “ultrahip”, modern “hypermodern” and cool “mega-cool”.
“Mega-cool”, however, does not just reflect an attitude aspired to by some young people and those who would like to stay young forever, it is also the title of an exhibition that is still on at the Vienna Künstlerhaus until early October.
The power of the mediaThe intention of Megacool 4.0. Young People and Art is to portray youth culture, that is, the life worlds and different types of creativity shown by various young people – with the means of contemporary art.
The main media employed is photography but there are also interactive installations, video art, painting and street art. It’s a broad spectrum that is also indicative of the diversity of themes – the things and problems young people face and have to struggle with. And these, of course, are very different. There is actually “no such thing as youth”, as Birgit Richard, director of the youth cultural centre in Frankfurt and curator of the exhibition, has put it.
For the exhibition she has brought together works that deal with the use of new media – Facebook, youtube etc. – by young people, access to politics, the common gender roles, self-presentation with clothing or widespread disorders such as anorexia. Whereas anorexia has largely come to be accepted as an illness, obesity by contrast is seldom seen as a disease. In her piece Sehnsucht (Desire) artist Rebecca Sampson has addressed various forms of eating disorders. The resulting series of photographs provides a glimpse of the emotions of young people as, for instance, when the inner struggle with food is rendered in the gaze of a portrayed girl staring at a candied apple. The artist is currently studying to what extent the theme of photography can also be used in the treatment of this disorder.
The theme of “slashing” – intentional self-mutillation – is also addressed in the exhibition in a piece by Franziska Fiolka. The photograph depicts a girl with a sad, distant gaze and scars on her arms. It is certainly one of the most touching photographs in the exhibition.
From A like avatar to R like raverThe American artists Nan Goldin and photographer Hana Pesul who hail from Vancouver work with gender roles – that are still rather traditional even in most of today’s youth cultures. The latter lets young boys and girls swap clothes in her photo series. A recurring theme is self-portrayal by means of fashion in the real world – several accessories have been compiled for the exhibition or are presented in a showcase. They do not just serve individualization but also symbolize affiliation with a certain group. There are ravers, hipsters, hip hoppers, gothics, celebrities or cosplayers to name just a few since the number of various trends is extremely diverse today.
Whoever would like to learn more about this theme has the chance to buy a catalogue after touring the exhibition. Thanks to the more analytic contributions on the history of various youth cultures as well as the latest trend known as ‘witchhouses’ – a sort of aesthetic strategy employed against the transparent ‘social’ web – the catalogue is certainly most worth reading. For those who are less inclined to do so the following holds true: a picture can say more than a thousand words. And who knows, if you’re lucky you may even be able to witness one or the other young person “out on the loose” – a rich educational programme is supposed to make a visit to the exhibition especially appealing for school kids. And perhaps one or the other future artist will be among them. Thanks to political, social and medial revolutions our world still provides more than enough material.
Use It – new English-language gratis-Vienna-city map for young travelers
After Prague, Ljbuljana, Warsaw, Oslo, Brussels and many other cities there is now also a Use It map for Vienna, compiled by wienXtra-jugendinfo.
The philosophy of the Use It networks can be described as follows: non-commerical, “no-nonsense” and produced by locals.
Stadtplan für Wien (City Map for Vienna) offers the following:
A “Too Much History Walk” leads to the most important sites of the city – a quick and compact tour – so that afterwards one can act like the locals, described in the section „Act Like A Local“. The tips are authentic: be grouchy, drink a spritzer or a pint of beer and spend hours sitting in a café are recommended just like having a cheap lunch at a restaurant. Thanks to a short presentation of the coolest Viennese districts, the most important tram lines, a subway plan and an introduction to Viennese coffee house culture the ‘users’ of the new city plan immediately become Vienna experts. The many tips for night life, gastronomy and sightseeing are marked with “tourist classic” in the mainstream programme or “local tip” in the insider tips.
All in all a very clearly structured and user-friendly guide that contains two city maps – a more detailed one of the city including parts of the inner districts and a larger one that also covers the area beyond the Gürtel ringroad. The map is available free of charge at www.jugendinfowien.at/useit For your information: A Use It city map is the works for Bratislava!
1., Babenbergerstraße 1/Ecke Burgring
T: +43/1/4000-84 100
Megacool 4.0. Jugend und Kunst
15 June to 7 October 2012
Tel.: +43 1 587966321
Opening hours: daily 10.00 to 18.00, Thursday 10.00 to 21.00
Megacool 4.0. Jugend und Kunst. ed. Birgit Richard and Heinz-Hermann Krüger. Kerber Verlag: Bielefeld 2012. pages: 104. Euro 18. ISBN-13: 978-3866787445