Medium für kulturelle Nahversorgung Tirol

Kulturarbeit in Europa: Same same but different

#09 2012 / Michaela Senn

Die fünfte Ausgabe des Internationalen Kulturfestivals Stummer Schrei in Stumm im Zillertal wurde in diesem Jahr durch ein Projekt der besonderen Art bereichert. Next Generation ist ein mit 35.000 € von Seiten der EU gefördertes Jugendprojekt, das vom 29. Juli bis zum 12. August dieses Jahres stattfand.

50 Jugendliche aus sieben europäischen Ländern waren für zwei Wochen im kleinen Dorf im Zillertal untergebracht und erarbeiteten innerhalb der beiden Wochen eine „Open-Embassies“-Performance, die sich vorrangig mit den Begriffen Freiheit, Kultur, Heimat und Zugehörigkeit auseinandersetzte. In Workshops, politischen Diskussionen sowie Probenarbeiten in länderthematisch aufgeteilten Kleingruppen wurden sieben kurze Performances erarbeitet, die am 10. August an verschiedensten Spielorten in Stumm präsentiert wurden. Im Zuge dieses Kulturaustausches wurden die TeilnehmerInnen immer wieder mit kulturpolitischen Problemen und Möglichkeiten konfrontiert.
Michaela Senn  fragte für MOLE nach, welchen Problemen die „KulturelevInnen“ aus Italien, Spanien, Rumänien, Slowenien, Armenien und Israel in ihrer Heimat begegnen.

“The situation, we suppose, is quite the same everywhere. After finishing the academy, newly baked actors, directors, dramatic advisers for theater and film have to struggle with many difficulties. There is no secure path to success. Culture is underestimated in society, each year we gain less money for cultural institutions, independent artists and this has an influence on productions itself. Therefore many artists are unemployed, independent theaters are on the edge of extinction, film production faces a huge lack of money, and it seems there is no hope for us anymore. The politicians who are running the government these days are very hypocritical to culture. Before being an independent state we existed because of the culture and its meaning for the nation. Culture was one of the basic backgrounds for our independency. But today it doesn‘t seem so. Mostly culture is a tool for gaining political goals and its quality is descending rapidly. According to this fact, people are losing trust and faith in the meaning of art.”
Nina Rajic & Matija Rupel

“Our performance took place in a dark garage. Everyone of us had a light source, which we only switched on to illuminate small scenes. The whole performance took place without talking, there was only music and a line up of different pictures which described the first time an Israeli boy traveled out of his country. Based on the central items fear, injustice, mentality, multiculturalism and racism we showed different experiences, like nazism, the temptation of a woman or the persuasion of witchcraft. For me our performance representde the experience of traveling around and absorbing every single impression we sensed. Particularly for a young man, who comes from a country like Israel, which is geographical and political delimited from other countries, it often seems not to be allowed to love the unknown. But we also tried to show that in a situation, where the media telling the public who is good and who is bad, there is a normal emotional excitation called love, which persuades the boy to treat others openly and to connect with them.”
Giulia Morelli

“The main problems that occur when we want to organize a cultural event in Romania are the lack of total attendances ad gaining sponsors. People are usually not interested in learning or getting involved in this kind of events. They mainly prefer trainings that don’t request too much effort and that provide them a diploma for their CV. This happens because of the mentality of Romanian students and children, who find the events boring and can’t see their long term benefits. Solving this problem is difficult, because it requires a changing development of the educational system, so that children can understand the values provided by and during cultural events. The second problem is gaining funding, or sponsors for cultural events. Because of the low attendance, most of those events are not popular enough to get media coverage; therefore companies are cautious in giving large sums of money, or appropriate spaces, which might be necessary for a noticeable cultural event. Even if such an event is organized, the space is usually inadequate, and people passing by tend to ignore it.
These problems can’t be solved individually, and a collective approach and collaboration between companies and cultural organizations is necessary in order to propagate the message easier and in order to raise the interest of the youth and elders alike.
On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any cultural events in Romania. For example, Level association, in Lasi, is organizing debate courses in two schools, and up to now they’ve also made a local debate competition. There are also other cultural 
organizations in other parts of our country, but they’re usually local, rarely at a national level. Since we became an EU member state, there is hope that the funds offered for cultural development will help us to change our current situation.”
Andrei Amariucai

“Imagine the situation: you want to be an actress and at the same time you are studying chemistry. But the educational system in your country does not allow you to combine both passions. Then you decide to go for the theater and prepare a play, but for that you need money. You happily go to the bank and they give you a loan. With the money you can prepare the costumes, the props and even pay the actors for the rehearsals. And the great day of the opening night comes, you and your team do the play and go to bed with a smile in the face. The next day you find a horrible review about your play in the local newspaper. Nobody comes to the play again and your artistic career is ruined. 
Thinking about Spanish culture goes along with torero and flamenco, but in the time of crisis the cultural scene is more effervescent than ever. And in this crisis the political class is as unconscious as ever. The lack of support from the Cultural Ministry causes the problem that the money is not well divided and all the scholarship go to the elite. Nobody cares about the basic culture.
This fact combined with the exaggerated high prizes of the theater and cinema tickets lead into the second problem: people do not have the need to ask for culture anymore: it is not only that the government cuts the money for the performances, it’s that the audience does not ask for cultural activities anymore. And when you look at the audience in a performance you can always find the same ten people in every single show. And now because the taxes are increasing in all cultural activities all over Spain it is going to get more and more difficult to participate, and therefore to make performances and more cultural activities.”
Elena Delgado Pulpillo & Raquel Silva León

“Thinking of Armenia one can immediately think of an old history, an old alphabet, old music and dances, and old churches. But what the world really doesn´t knows about nowadays Armenia is, the cultural lives of its people! Very often even the name of the country is unknown to young people. Although we live in the twenty-first century, in the century of globalization where the countries are so far away but also close to each other, so strange but also familiar to each other.
We mix ourselves, we throw ourselves in the flood of globalization, but we still cannot recognize each other well. There is definitely something missing. It is the lack of the cultural life, the lack of cultural communication that is missing. We live for ourselves, we create for ourselves but we don’t get the chance to show the world what we have created. There are so many young artists and culture representatives in Armenia who never have the chance to express themselves to the outer world. There are a lot of scientists, a lot of writers and thinkers; a lot of active and initiating young activists who create art, who create culture, all in all they create the cultural life of Armenia, but the existence of a lot of barriers makes it impossible for this culture to spread and reach to the outer world. Little by little we make steps, we initiate projects, we dig ways of communication on the cultural level with the outer world to show them we are capable of and what we still need to learn from them, too. Such projects on international level happen not very often, but when they happen, they have a great effect afterwards. For example, due to this “Culture, Freedom, Native Country” project initiated and carried out in Stumm, a big awareness rose among the fifty participants of seven countries about each other’s cultures. Where earlier no one even knew where Armenia was located, now they know about the people, about the language, about the cultural life, the opportunities of traveling in Armenia, the places to visit and see there, the food to eat, the drinks to drink, the music to listen to, and words to say in Armenian like the local one would do.”
Sona Sahakyan

“In Italy the government is not really interested in the promotion of cultural projects. It is very difficult to get money for that and so cultural foundations are forced to take care for themselves. A very good example is the occupation of the Theater Valle in Rome. It happened one year ago, because the theater was getting sold to private people. So a lot of youth groups occupied the theater for almost a year. They are still organizing events to collect money to prevent the privatization of the theater.
For the future I wish we could have a culture that is more accessible and less elitist, affordable to all and especially to young people who do not have a steady job and can‘t afford to pay high prices as the ones we currently have. It would be great to have a wider range of cultural offers, which stimulate more young people to get involved and to produce their own cultural visions.”
Nicole Schiribizzo Mimbembelli

Text from the Italian Performance
“I am tired. It takes a lot of strength to stand a life like mine. I wonder if I will ever find a way out of this misery and find the job I deserve. Was it really worth studying hard, doing exams, sacrificing my free time and putting all my efforts in it? Now, with a degree in foreign languages, I have to clean dirty toilets and supervise a hyper-active little girl. I keep on doing my best just because there are hope and a strong will that guide me. What makes me sad is the fact that all this stress and frustration make me really unpleasant to the little girl I am taking care of. I used to love children, I used to love reading, laughing, living. Now everything is grey and cold and it has become a hard challenge just to stay alive.”