DURSTSTRECKEN | Daljave | Distanze is a two-year cycle of eight interdisciplinary art projects focusing on individual and collective strategies of coping with crisis situations. The starting point is the simple idea that it is often necessary to cover distances – physical and mental, social and cultural – in order to overcome difficulties. The process connected with this, the lean spell, may be painful but may also be a rewarding experience. The role of art in this context is to explore opportunities of personal development and potentials of social progress. In this sense, the DURSTSTRECKEN | Daljave | Distanze are a series of case studies and experimental set- ups motivating artists to take a critical and unconventional look at the current crisis, encouraging the public to tread new paths of »survival«. As different as the artistic approaches in the various projects may be, they have one thing in common: the intention of freeing oneself from the dictates of economy while nevertheless maintaining a »stance«.
Another common feature of the DURSTSTRECKEN | Daljave | Distanze is the concrete geographical anchoring of the various projects from which the particular subject matter is derived – in an examination of the social, political and/or historical conditions. One focus is the Alpine-Adriatic region (which has always been the province of the Universitätskulturzentrum UNIKUM), another the fringes of Europe, particularly a number of hot spots in the southern EU, but also countries in the north-west of the continent.
Each project forges unusual connections from »A« to »B«, thus opening up new spaces of perception and thinking to be sur- veyed with the instruments of art. The aim is to depict undreamt- of links that allow us to look at the big picture and prompt produc- tive »mental leaps«. Around one hundred and fifty artists from fifteen European countries are taking part, hailing from almost all genres of art: music, literature, visual arts, theatre, media art, and performance. This wide range is also reflected in the choice of co- operation partners, all with experience in international and inter- disciplinary projects and having developed distinctive profiles. It is planned to expand existing contacts and networks with lasting effect in the course of project development.
Each project corresponds to a certain type of DURSTSTRECKEN and – despite being a stand-alone entity – forges links to the other projects. These are:
the war-path
the short-cut
the pilgrimage trail
the swathe
the transit route
the cul-de-sac
the escape route
the tunnel
Each of these distances constitutes the starting point for artistic settings that depict historical case studies and contem- porary strategies or instructions for »survival in the crisis«. The artistic devices range from experimental and avant-garde approaches to low-threshold actions that (also) address an audience not usually on close terms with the art world. Either way, inter- cultural dialogue and activating the audience are core aims, and the DURSTSTRECKEN are seen as an interactive undertaking.