novy zivot v ottakringu

Submitted by jr on Sat, 01/23/2010 - 01:00


'Novy zivot' is Slovak for 'new life' and also the name of a village about 20km east of Bratislava. While many Slovaks since the Velvet Revolution of 1989 began a new life, in villages like Novy Zivot, the capital Bratislava or abroad like in the United Kingdom, where many young Slovaks went to find work in the last years, still little is known about the country and its inhabitants. Even just 60km west of Bratislava, in the Austrian capital Vienna, where nowadays many Slovaks work or study, they still hardly leave any traces.

This led us to the idea for the project 'Novy Zivot v Ottakringu', which included the creation of a temporary space of confrontation and encounter with 'the other' from just across the border, implanted right in the center of the Viennese public art festival Soho in Ottakring 2008. Granted support from the festival, we invited two young Slovak artists as kind of 'Gastarbeiter' to design and create a space that would symbolize the new life of many Slovaks and become that place for encounter and confrontation we desired.

What they created was a seemingly light sculptural, semi-transparent structure, which should stand for the new life, surrounded by stylized, street-art like paintings on plaster panels, symbolizing the grey suburban housing estates characteristic for most post-communist cities. During the two weeks of the festival our space became a popular meeting and communication place as well as the point of departure for performances of other Slovak artists we invited. By that at least for some time Novy Zivot could stimulate and exchange between here and there.

Novy Zivot v Ottakringu was part of and enabled by the festival Soho in Ottakring 2008.

17-05 till 30-05-2008

Idea and concept
Christoph Höschele and Jürgen Rendl

Project team
Jonny Stofko, Marian Kralik, Kathrin Wenzl, Magdalena Schrefel, Wolfgang Eicher, Christoph Höschele, Jürgen Rendl

Photo credits
Wolfgang Eicher, Jürgen Rendl