Archive for May, 2008

Austrian flag is flying high

austrian flagI didn’t have any idea that Austrians are patriots, too. I mean, just look at the Austrian national flag proudly displayed on every fifth car.

I have known the Austrians as a very reserved folk. They wouldn’t tell you how much they earn in a month or who they are going to vote. Thy wouldn’t play the national anthem in the cinemas before the last screening. And now look, flag euphoria is hovering in the air.

I am not used to seeing Austrian flags unless there is a Feiertag. Unlike in the United States where seeing Stars and Stripes is usual in many households, Austrians are showing that they are very proud of their country (or their national team, depends on how one sees it) just in time for the EURO 2008.

According to an article from Der Standard, the Austrians are also patriots.

Tatsächlich erweisen sich die Österreicher im internationalen Vergleich als besonders patriotisch. Bei einer weltweiten Umfrage des Meinungsforschungsinstituts der University of Chicago zum Nationalstolz aus den Jahren 2003 und 2004 landete Österreich auf dem vierten Platz, geschlagen nur von den USA, Venezuela und Australien. Besonders der “allgemeine Patriotismus”, der sich nicht auf besondere Leistungen bezieht, ist in Österreich stark ausgeprägt. Acht Jahre zuvor lag Österreich sogar auf dem zweiten Platz gleich hinter den USA – und beim allgemeinen Stolz auf Platz eins.

Sources 1 & 2

If we follow George Orwell’s definition of patriotism in comparison with nationalism, one can say that the many Austrians are darn proud of this Alpine Republic:

By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.

An Austrian told me it is the standard of living in Austria that makes life almost perfect. It could be the country’s highest ranking when it comes to security and cleanliness, or the social welfare, the culture, etc.

The Austrians are not as flexible as the Americans or not as cosmopolitan as the other nationalities. But they love to travel and see other places. Thing is, most of them would rather stay with their own kind. Like going to Turkey or Dubai, but rather stay in German-speaking clubs provided by the travel agency back home. The majority of Austrians are proud of their language, their culture, their food. They aren’t comfortable and often refuse to practice or learn other languages. It doesn’t matter if they can. They won’t dare talk to you in other languages (for example, in English) but their own mother tongue. The reasoning is they live in a German-speaking country. To borrow Stormtroopers of Death‘s song “Speak English or Die,” speak German or die???

To emigrate? No way! As much as possible they wouldn’t if they had the choice as they cannot imagine living somewhere else but Austria.

Of course, there are others who think that place is not important as long as they feel home.

If my observations are wrong, please be my guest to correct them.

In the end, a Viennese colleague finds the flag-waving just funny and should not be mistaken as bigotry.

Games, games, games

I know this post comes super, super late, but:

Right this minute at Kunsthalle Project Space, the ‘Games. Their Present-Day Role in Art & Politics’ exhibition is being opened – which looks awesome to me!

Here’s what the Kunsthalle site says about it:

The series of events and the exhibition scheduled to accompany the European Soccer Championship 2008 in the Kunsthalle project space centers on the politics and present-day role of games. Societies present themselves through their games, whose syntax, semantics, and performative practice both distort the prevailing circumstances and articulate the desires and ideals inherent in them.

Games have always been part of popular culture. Today, interactive PC games, online games, and Internet role-playing games form the hottest-selling branch of the globalized entertainment and culture industry. Its turnover exceeds that of the motion picture industry: the US producer of the role-playing game World of Warcraft, for example, registered 300,000 new players only last year, and tens of thousands of players move through the virtual worlds of Linden Labs’ Second Life every day.

Because of their enormous social and economic significance, games are the – hitherto underestimated – aesthetic and sociopolitical fighting zone of the future: in the forms of their motifs and their architecture, in their narrative structures and their use.

The series of events and the exhibition will explore the concept of games in its manifold relationships with today’s culture, technology, and politics and focus on interactive games as a medium of contemporary art.

Curators: Mathias Fuchs, Ernst Strouhal

So go have a quick look – and stop by at Karlsplatz nao.

Btw, the exhibit will be on display until July 06th, 2008, so there’s absolutely no excuse to miss it ;)

Bok: A heartwarming video

Bok is a tiny Asian restaurant… but they really serve delicious meals. You should definitely check it out.

And their self-promotional video is a truly heartwarming tale of gastro-homesickness…. *sigh!*

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Link (to video)

Tupalo entry about Bok

Verkehrsmittel laut Plan unterwegs

Wiener Linien - Verkehrsmittel laut Plan unterwegs

(I really like how Wiener Linien are informing us that they don’t have anything to inform us about!)

Integration on Tour

All right. So the Innsbruck tour was not that successful. Overshadowed with the agonising story of the Albanian-Kosovar Arigona Zogaj and her deported family and the protesters asking the way Günther Platter, the Interior Minister, handled the case(s) of well-integrated immigrants (illegal or not, refugee or otherwise), the ministry’s project “Integration on Tour” will be in Vienna starting tomorrow until May 29, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Started in April, the program aims to bring the ministry closer to the migrants. The Wanderaustellung travelled all the way from Bregenz and since then in different 25 stations. Last stop will be in Wien.

Part-public relations, part-information dissemination, I am still pondering its usefulness to me as a foreigner living in Austria. But I will be there just the same.

This is to complement the release of the yearly report on immigration and the bad press the ministry has received. The motto is “Gemeinsam kommen wir zusammen,” an idea to make the integration for foreigners and natives easier.

But as well know, integration is a two-way street. There’s more to blah-blah and press releases.

Vom 26. bis 29. Mai wird die Ausstellung von 9:00 bis 18:00 Uhr in Wien Station machen. Um 10:00 Uhr gibt es eine offizielle Begrüßung bei der Vertreter/innen aus dem Politik- und Sozialbereich vor ort sein und über ihre Erfahrungen zu den Themen Integration und Migration berichten werden. Miriam Hie vom ORF wird die Tour moderieren. Wir würden uns freuen, wenn Sie uns bei der Wanderausstellung besuchen.

Die Termine für Wien:

26. Mai 1100 Wien, Columbusplatz

27. Mai 1150 Wien, Stadthalle

28. Mai 1160 Wien, Brunnenmarkt (Brunnengasse 68)

29. Mai 1220 Wien, Donauzentrum

Die Wanderausstellung informiert über die wichtigsten Zahlen und Fakten zum Thema Zuwanderung in Österreich:

– Wie hoch ist der Ausländeranteil? Wie hat er sich entwickelt?

– Wie schaut es in meinem Bundesland aus?

– Woher kommen die Zuwanderer und warum?

– Wie sieht die religiöse Vielfalt in Österreich aus?

– Was für Integrationsherausforderungen gibt es zu den Themen Bildung, Sprache, Arbeitsmarkt und Wohnen?

– Welche wichtige Rolle spielt die Gemeinde bei der Integration von Zuwanderern?

– Was können wir tun, damit ein friedvolles Zusammenleben in Österreich möglich ist und bleibt?

Albin Egger-Biker

A controversial art exhibit has again raised the debate over the presence of looted Jewish property in Austrian collections. Critics say the exhibition at Vienna’s Leopold Museum of works by Tyrolean painter Albin Egger-Lienz, a key figure in early 20th-century Austrian art, features over a dozen works of dubious origin.
The opposition Green party has already described the exhibit as “the greatest display of looted art in Austria in years” and has called for the paintings to be restored to their previous owners.

Well… I’m quite sure this nice piece of urban art has any political background… but still…

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(Albin Egger-Lienz poster, Stiftgasse)

The Mystery of the Hagenbachklamm

Evelyn and I spent a nice Saturday afternoon hiking the wonderful Hagenbachklamm (near St. Andrä; around 20 driving minutes from Vienna) and we spotted a strange piece of “rural graffiti”.

hagenbach.jpg

“Ramazzotti Dolomitentarzan” (“Ramazzotti, Tarzan of the Dolomites“)

Any clues?

Schunko, the legend

You are into gun replicas? Soft guns? Other forms of fake weaponry?
I guess you know Schunko (near Urania) already. If not: go there. It’s fake gun lovers kitsch heaven.

You are totally offended by gun replicas? Soft guns? Other forms of fake weaponry?
I guess you know Schunko (near Urania) already. If not: go there. It’s fake gun haters kitsch heaven.

schunko.jpg

Link

Are you pregnant?

And if yes, do you feel represented by this icon?

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(S-Bahn, Vienna)

Oh, sad Vienna

I want to cry.

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