DEC. 2005
freibesetzt summary
(from KHEX 2005 year catalog)

June 29 - July 23, 2005
Kunsthalle Exnergasse, WUK, Vienna

Project: innbetween (Christine Schöffler, Peter Blakeney)

Participants: Coolhaven, De Vrije Ruimte, Ernst Kirchwegerhaus, Fluc, Gruppe Freiraum, Jeanne van Heeswijk & Rolf Engelen, Kraakspreekuur Rotterdam, Dieter Schrage, Tüwi, W.E.G.

The project freibesetzt explored in depth diverse concepts and strategies of "appropriation" through the presentation of physical spaces (free or occupied...?) in the Netherlands and Austria and the stories of their protagonists. The creation of spaces for living and activities which inherently evade or reject capitalistic mechanisms and state control is invariably a quest for alternative economies and the possibilities of political engagement. The encounters and discussions experienced during freibesetzt between the participating persons/groups — whether planned or coincidental - confirmed this position. Within the conversation and criticism of dominant societal hierarchies, seemingly disparate themes like city planning, precarious work conditions, education, sustainability, gender and migration intersected.

The situation of this project in the Kunsthalle Exnergasse meant also addressing the familiar dilemma between Art and political dissent: Does the Art contextualisation defuse the actual critic which, conversely, the cultural industry (also interwoven into power structures) dresses itself as "revolutionary" with? Versus: Does the the representation of such content have to stand up to art-historic references and therefore deliver formal-aesthetic innovation?

The physical manifestation of freibesetzt in the exhibition hall included the installation "The Paper House" / "Het Papieren Huis" / and now: "Das Papierene Haus" as well as complimentary elements offering additional information and interaction such as the Ernst Kirchweger Haus/ Infoladen 10 satellite, an Indymedia station, a Give-Away Shop and newspaper stands for independent publications.

The installation "A Paper House" by Dutch artists Jeanne van Heeswijk and Rolf Engelen (in collaboration with Frans Vermeer, Siebe Thissen and innbetween) is constructed from panels that were sawn out of the thick layers of posters illegally pasted up, year after year, on a now-demolished kiosk in Rotterdam. The house accomodates documentary materials over contemporary and disappeared "freespaces"; a collage of original text, image, audio and video materials. The house is in perpetual expansion, growing in each city where stories and materials from local freespaces are collected. Additionally, an issue of the "Paper House ‘Zine" is produced for each location.

The Paper House began in Rotterdam at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in the framework of the "Squatters" exhibition in 2001 and then, in 2004, was expanded in Taipei during the Art Biennial "Do You Believe in Reality?".

For freibesetzt, the house was extended in the form of a "Vienna Alley" as a metaphor for the typical, somewhat bourgeois appearance of the façades of the city and the rough barricade-like character of the presented spaces:

(in alphabetical order, status 2005:)

Aegidi/Spalo Aegidigasse; 13/Spalowskygasse 3, 6th district; 1982/83 till 1988

Amerlinghaus; Am Spittelberg, 7th district; since 1975

Arena; Aus-/Inlandsschlachthof St.Marx, 3rd district; 1976

Burggartenbewegung; Burggarten 1st district; 1979

Ernst Kirchweger Haus; Wielandgasse 2-4, 10th district; since 1990

Fluc; Praterstern, 2nd district; since 2002

GAGA; Gassergasse 19/Laurenzgasse1, 5th district; 1981 till 1983

Gruppe Freiraum; without fixed place; since 2004

Phorushalle; 5th district; 1979

Simmering; Simmeringer Hauptstrasse, 11th district; 1975

Tüwi; Peter- Jordanstrasse 76; 18th district; since 1986

VEKKS; Zentagasse 26; 5th district; since 1999

Werkstätten-und Kulturhaus WUK; Währingerstrasse 59; 9th district; since 1981


freibesetzt acquired a particular tension through the fact that it coincided with the critical situations that many presented spaces and initatives found themselves in exactly at this time. For example, the Ernst Kichweger Haus had recently been sold under questionable circumstances by the owner at the time, the Communist Party Austria. On the 29th of June, the opening day of freibesetzt, there existed the real threat of eviction by the new owner. The Kunsthalle Exnergasse hosted a spontaneously called press conference and numerous interviews around the theme and the most recent film and photo reports, posters and folders were integrated in the exhibition. Similar acute scenarios ran parallel for the Gruppe Freiraum (eviction of the 5th occupation of the demanded university campus areal by special police units) and TÜWI (collapse of negotiations regarding the university’s planned commercial use of the initiative’s café).

The experience and concern of the invited Dutch participants, like the Kraakspreekuur Rotterdam or the collective De Vrije Ruimte, could be directly applied to these Viennese developments, resulting in spontaneous cooperations and lasting contacts. Even discussions and actions (like "easyCity") planned well in advance, were often subject to shifts in focus and were informed by the immediate conflictual situations. On the whole, freibesetzt consequently illustrated the emergence of a new dynamic in the freespace discussion and practice in Vienna.

(see Appendix for descriptions of mentioned participants)


June 29 — KHEX 14.00 : Squatting workshop from the Kraakspreekuur Rotterdam (with visuals): short history of the Dutch squatters movement; diverse usage forms of contemporary squats; social, political and juridical background; practical "how-to" crash course with diverse tools, locks …

June 29 — KHEX 19.00 : freibesetzt opening "House Warming"

Presentations and discussion round around the installation "A Paper House" with Dutch artist Jeanne van Hesswijk, Rolf Engelen and the Kraakspreekuur Rotterdam.

+++ with VOKÜ (folks kitchen) from Tuewi !

July 1 — KHEX 19.00 : EKH Press Conference regarding the possible eviction, the current situation in and around the house and possible solutions.

July 7 — KHEX 18.00 : NL & A Film Special

Films around the themes of squatting, housing shortage, autonomy, D.I.Y, sub- and counterculture etc. 1970-now. A: Kanal B+ Austria videos to the theme "the fight for freespace": EKH Bleibt!, Tuewi Bleibt! and more. NL: "The City Was Ours" (1996), "Easy City" (docu, 2002)

July 8 — KHEX 19.00 : Podium(less) Discussion

Focus: Freespace/Freiraum/Vrije Ruimte: squatted, sold, negotiated, rented, fought…?

Discussion round over the diverse strategies in the Netherlands and Austria to create urban freespace, both mental or physical. With members of the collective Vrije Ruimte (Amsterdam), the group Freiraum, the Ernst Kirchweger House, Dieter Schrage (all Vienna), Daniela Swarovsky (curator, Rotterdam/Vienna) and Jutta Kleedorfer (Vienna urban planning). Moderation: Thomas Jelinek (IG Kultur Vienna)

July 9 — easyCity : Action on Shopping Saturday : 12.00 in front of the department store Peek&Cloppenburg, Mariahilferstrasse.

For a safer, cleaner and proper/decent Vienna! Personally contribute and lounge with us with a glass of champagne! Today we celebrate the grand re-opening of the EKH, the easy Shopping Mall (Einfach Kauf Haus)! Young dynamic survey and camera teams cater for your media presence and police for your security!

July 12 -16 : Daily in the WUK Foyer 18.00-24.00 : Fluc in Exile

Free Entrance! The esteemed project on the way to Fluc2. A diverse music & media art program…

July 12 — Performance: Endiche Vis.Sat (Lithuania) + DJ Simonis LeBon

July 13 — Performance: das Fax Mattinger (A) + DJs Fuchs, Rossbacher & Wallner

July 14 — Performance: [dy'na:mo] (A) + DJS Walter Seidl & Stefan Geissler

July 15 — Podium(less) Discussion

Focus: Freespaces and Cultural Production

Freespaces as the triggers for innovative cultural platforms. The road from the underground to the establishment - Questions of institutionalisation/commercialisation. With members of WORM & de Player, Poortgebouw (all Rotterdam), Fluc, Sabine Sonnenschein (WUK), Tuewi, Gruppe Freiraum (all Vienna) and Jutta Kleedorfer (Vienna urban planning)

+ DJS Female Obsession

July 16 — Performance: Coolhaven (Rotterdam)

July 16 — Vienna 17.00 : City Tour around the theme Struggle for Housing with Robert Foltin. Meeting Point: Amerlinghaus Stiftgasse 8 1070 Vienna

July 21 — KHEX 20.00 : TOTAL NORMAL — Short Films, Lecture & Discussion

The short films ersteSchutzzoneausUnendlich and easyCity_Vienna illustrate different strategies to reconquer the increasingly regulated public space.

Lecture by Martin Wassermair. Discussion with Gerald Raunig, the easyCity Group Vienna amongst others.




What is freibesetzt? ( D /NL / E )

strange attractors

A Paper House
EKH Infopoint
FLUC im Exil
“Ost Minstrels”
Vrije Ruimte