Nederlands? About In progress Realized Not realized Residencies Lectures Publications Resume Contact Press
☰ Edwin Stolk

Conversation Pieces
Supergau Festival 2023 - in progress

As an artist I am interested in social themes. In Lungau I focus on the 'rural flight'. That's what it's called when young people exchange the countryside for the big city. This beautiful region in Austria has a rich cultural past but how about its future? During the upcoming Supergau Festival, I want to initiate site specific 'Conversation Pieces' to imagine and debate the future.

"The Way the Water Flows" is a text that I wrote after several interesting meetings we had during our September stay in the Lungau region in Austria. I want to thank everyone so far for sharing their interesting insights! Looking forward to continue to develop the ideas towards realization at the festival from 26 May until the 4th of June 2023.

Also read my contributions on Supergau Magazin!

In an early stage of my research I became fascinated by the phenomenon of the 'rural flight' and its impact on the Lungau region. Young people move to cities like Salzburg, Wien or Graz to study and often do not return. As a result, local amenities come under pressure. This rural brain drain is a worldwide problem, related to globalization and the competition for talent.

"The most powerful engine for change is the evocation of desire for change. Imagination is essential to this. It is not the world that determines who we are, but the other way round - we shape the world with our stories." Floris Alkemade.

During my stay in Lungau I exchanged thoughts on the possible causes of this flight into the city. While the main focus here is on tourism, agriculture and forestry, career opportunities for the higher educated are missing. Visually this region breathes its rich cultural past. Old trains, traditional clothing, music & rituals and the typical Austrian architecture. What seems missing is a challenging 'image' of the future.

conversation pieces

Do the climate and corona crisis require a revaluation of the countryside? What examples do you think about, when we start to imagine a future for Lungau? A knowledge based economy? Clean and fast public transport? A laboratory for start-ups? Flexible workspaces and energy related innovation hubs? Is Lungau able to turn the tide? From a brain drain, towards a brain gain? How to attract young people? I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences. (info[at]edwinstolk.nl)

"The places that will be most able to absorb new energies will be those that are both open to diversity and also capable of internalizing the externalities that the creative economy gives rise to." The flight of the creative class by Richard Florida.

Art can offer a window of opportunities. For the duration of the Supergau Festival 2023 I want to engage specific surroundings with 'Conversation Pieces'. Together with you and the help of people at local governments & companies, I want to develop construction boards (small or big) presenting site specific future perspectives. These 'Conversation Pieces' present for example an imaginary announcement for the (re)development of empty spaces, specific sites and/or areas. Each piece touches upon urgent social topics and offers alternatives.

Cocreation starts with finding each other and work together on a specific theme or topic that concerns us. If the one way exodus of young people towards universities concerns you, or the lack of public transportation, or equal rights for women, or informal spaces where youngsters can meet, let this initiative be an open invitation to get in touch and work together on these aims. Because together we can make the difference!

I would love to meet with you in person!

Also read my latest text "The Way the Water Flows"and contributions for Supergau Magazin!



Land Salzburg

'Conversation Pieces' is made possible by: Supergau Festival 2023, Land Salzburg and could use your help! Your (company) name here? Do not hesitate to contact me when you are interested to collaborate!

'Conversation Pieces' was mentioned in the following press: RTS Regional TV Salzburg

'Conversation Pieces' follows the concept behind #theorganisation

If you wish to be informed on my future activities please subscribe to my newsletter.

photo | videos | press | supergau | lungau

Best regards, Edwin Stolk.