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☰ Edwin Stolk

Conversation Pieces
Supergau Festival 2023 - in progress

As an artist I am interested in social themes. In Lungau I focus on '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.

Also read my contribution to Supergau Magazin!

In an early stage of my research I became fascinated by the phenomenon of '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 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 'picture' 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 shops, specific sites and/or areas. Each piece touches upon urgent social topics and offers alternatives.

Cocreation starts with finding each other and after that to work together on a specific theme or topic that concerns us. Do you want to share your information & knowledge in relation to Lungau and the rural exodus? Do you have ideas for a specific location in Lungau? Do you have solutions to avoid this rural flight? Do you want to help us practically realizing these 'Conversation Pieces'? Are you an architect, constructor or advertisement specialist who wants to help? If you think the city or village where you live can benefit from this art project? Please get in touch because together we can make the difference!

I will return to Lungau in September and would love to meet with you in person!

Also read my latest contribution to Supergau Magazin!

 

Supergau

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:

'Conversation Pieces' follows the concept behind #theorganisation

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Best regards, Edwin Stolk.