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CAMP.LAB 1 - July 28th until August 05 th


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Camp Lab 1 applies itself from July 28th to August 05th through presentations, talks and film screenings to the development of this archive and the lexicon. To represent the transitory and procedural aspects that correspond to the “emergence” of the camp as well as to the activist and performative patterns that echo it, every day is ruled by the motto of a dual, self-contradictory activity.


"A group of teenagers devotes itself to a fanatical Jesus cult and stays in a mass camp on Ibiza to collect the garbage left by tourists as an action of penance ("Kreuz & Quer", July 11th 2006: Gott segne Ibiza/God bless Ibiza); A Turkish baby, born in Austria and child of Turks who live in Austria, is to be deported to Turkey due to failing to meet a deadline and has to apply from there for the residence permit for Austria (Der Standard, July 14th 2006, p.11); Israeli and Palestinian teenagers are brought face to face with the traumatic life stories of each other while staying in a "Peace Camp", getting the chance to establish communication between them and initiate self-awareness (Der Standard, July 18th 2006, p. 6); a "training camp for financial support for arts and culture" helps to "formulate projects in a consistent and cogent way" and stages a meeting of a selection committee to put the projects to the test – using the help of experts on the field of "project management" (IGFreieTheater, email newsletter 6/ February 2006).

How would a research project have to look like that didn’t compare those stories about “camps” as experimental, dangerous, forced, healing stays but would plough trough the area that creates them? 

In the form of a laboratory for nine days the CAMP-LAB 1 assembled guests from different disciplines (journalism, architecture, art, social theory, theatre etc.) to outline a navigation system for the perceptibility of the camp not as a determined architectonic form or a juridical institution, but as a situational and emergent complex of contemporary society.

Every social formation, where people are cut off their usual surroundings to live temporarily in a dangerous and unstable condition, appears as a camp where problems concerning every rule of living together and every trait of individuality may arise. The camp is a place of both excessive regimentation of logistic processes and uncertain negotiations, a place of therapy and compulsion, of temporary stay and unlimited waiting. Still, those examples are not comparable with each other. As a condition difficult to decipher and being in a permanent change regarding singular alienation from oneself and the environment, the "Camp" denies the logic of event and principle and demands an equally changing archive of individual analysis, which in turn is linked with a wider notional body of developmental conditions of current "Camps". Within that lexicon you will find notions like fear, asylum, stopping, discipline, enclosing, stronghold, initiation, migration, bare life, slum, vacuum and many others....."


contributions by (in alphabetic order):

Fahim Amir, Bernhard Cella, Ulrich Beckefeld, Claudia Bosse, Karl Bruckschwaiger, Fred Büchl, Volker Gessendorfer, Silvia Santangelo Jura, Herbert Langthaler, Tomislav Medak, Corinna Milborn, Aldo Milhonic, Lukas Pusch, Florian Schneider, Chris Standfest,  Martin Wassermaier, u.a.


Thomas J. Jelinek, Alexander Nikolic, Katherina Zakravsky


in Fluc: Tunnel to Riesenrad. Gabor Steiner Weg, Praterstaße / 1020 Vienna;

inJedinstvo: Kultur- und Sportverein; Praterstraße 9 / 1020 Vienna;

in the labfactory: Praterstraße 42/1/3 / 1020 Vienna.

A cooperation of: nomad-theatre, Fluc, EU-eroticunion, Akademie d. bild. Künste Wien, MASKA (Ljubljana), Willem de Kooning Academy / Rotterdam, Büro f. ungewöhnliche Massnahmen / Stuttgart and further partners


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daily program


July 28th

The laboratory starts with the motto „Opening up – Being Taken by Storm” with the presentation of Corinna Milborn’s book “Gestürmte Festung Europa”(“ Fortress Europe Taken by Storm”), linked with the urging and current discourse about Europe’s sealing-off from the migration flows setting out from the southern hemisphere (examples: Ceuta and Melilla).

As a token of opening up, Silvia Santangelo Jura’s documentary about a vocational training project for girls in one of the biggest favelas in Rio de Janeiro answers to the taking of Europe by storm.

July, 29th

The second day with the maxim “Provoking – Reconstructing” presents Volker Gessendorfer’s urbanistic field trip to Beirut, a hybrid and multicultural city that – imperilled for decades – has again received public attention within the last few days as a city besieged.  In combination with that, Fahim Amir (social theoretician, teaching in Vienna) reflects upon migrant pop-intelligence, using the example of Kanack Attack. This shows that the “camp”, appearing often as a mechanism of being isolated by others and isolating oneself, is after all in conflict with the urban and media space – described by Giorgio Agamben in a topologically intertwined way as an “included exclusion”.

August 02nd

After a few days of intra-laboratory conditions, Camp Lab 1 is reopened for public on August 2nd under the heading “Relocating – Detaining”. The historian Karl Bruckschwaiger, the ethnologist and publicist Herbert Langthaler (Asylum Coordination Austria) and the artist Alexander Nikolic deal with the broad and contradictory range of European-African relations. The confrontation of the rich with the poor is to be seen in „Slum TV“, an art project by Alexander Nikolic and Lukas Pusch. It shows an artistic intervention in a slum in Nairobi and relates to the slum as the place of organising survival between proud and violence. Life in the slums is a counter-model to the setting out for Europe that has to deal with the juridical contortions of the old conception of “asylum” as a protective area. People have to fight for residence, but on a totally different field. The day is concluded – according to the Fluc – by an annotated presentation of African music, rounded off with stories.

August 03rd

„Acting – Being Governed” is the maxim that opens up the wide ethic-political array to a new discourse, where the “camp” is made a scene of biopolitics by Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben.
In two controversies the biopolitical spectrum is focused first on its individual, ethical and praxeological aspects, to be then connected with more political and biotechnological questions. Overlaps are however also bound to occur for the theoretical part.
To start with, Chris Standfest (actress and performance artist of the Theaterkombinat with a pedagogical background and a current research activity in the field of space studies) and Katherina Zakravsky (theorist of culture and performance artist) tackle the difficult topic of a self-chosen discipline as a self-technique for especially artistic and other biographies under precarious circumstances. As we know, Michel Foucault had tried to develop a topical technique of existence out of antique wisdom theories of self-care.
Is that an ahistorical aberration? Or will there be astonishing “disciplinary” and extraordinary alliances due to the lack of self-technique for post-industrial nomads, migrants and virtuosos (Paolo Virno)? Biographic reminiscences about the way of taking up residence by seizing buildings in Berlin Kreuzberg (Standfest) intertwine with questions about ritual and compulsion neurosis as antipodes of self-education.
Subsequently, Fahim Amir poses the contentious issue of the approaching “gene-colonialism”, answered by Tomislav Medak (theoretician, performance artist and activist from Zagreb) with a reflection upon the social complexity of biopolitics as a mode of production (in English).

August 04th

„Staging – Condesing” involves the intersection of the „camp” with public space. Martin Wassermaier presents a short film about the occupation of Karlsplatz by a media-camp. As an active platform within an independent cultural approach and practice of media, the media-camp wanted to make the Karlsplatz central point of a new protest movement. For some theatrical-performative projects that started to stage camp-like patterns in Vienna last winter, „Staging – Condesing” gives the opportunity to present and evaluate not only those projects in a retrospective way – such as the urbanistic choreographic „Palais Donaustadt” by the „Theaterkombinat” with included theory-camp and „In deinem Lager ist Österreich” (“In Your Camp is Austria”), a project about Marianne Fritz by the „Stadttheater Wien” (Vienna City Theatre) and the pedagogical relic of the “Child’s City”. In addition to that, Claudia Bosse (Theaterkombinat), Fred Büchel (Stadttheater Wien/ Vienna City Theatre) and the architect Ulrich Beckefeld (“office for subversive architecture – osa”), who has a working cooperation with Büchel, show the process of their works. It reaches from besiegement – a project about Melvilles Barthleby in Hebbeltheater HAU, Berlin 2004 – to “camping” on the Danube ledge (Bosse) and leads then away from the camp to manoeuvre, a mass-reading of Marianne Fritz’ novel “Naturgemäß I” (“Naturally I”), which exceeds 1000 pages. Büchel and Beckefeld compile a visual installation of „pocket-camps” that comprise miniatures of stills and microarchitecture. This field of attention is joined by Ilse Chlan’s film about the pedagogical experiment of “Child’s City”, where children were offered a more or less isolated camp for a first practise in urban social behaviour – in the spirit of the seventies.

August 05th

Starting already at 3 pm, the Camp Lab finally deals with both “Closing” and “Beginning”. On the one hand, the “camp” is a scene of closure, enclosure and sealing-off, demanding its opening – according to Georges Didi-Huberman – which writes its own story to become perceivable and representable. On the other hand, “the camp” is a starting point for unexpected processes, due to the lack of an accurate prediction about what can happen within an artificial atmosphere, as Ute Meta-Bauer diagnoses. She initiated the research project “Curating in a cultural vacuum” at the Academy of Fine Arts. This project meets with the Slovenian sociologist Aldo Mihonic, who talks (in English) about the scope of art and activism on the basis of ex-Yugoslavian and other examples. This is more than the closing of a circle: Not only derived the first idea for the >camp-project< from the periphery of the performance-magazine „Maska“(Ljubljana), where Mihonic is a constant columnist, but the “vacuum” brings up again the question of the construction of camps, which is often connected with the anxiety of wars and conflicts. If the camp, as a product of war, is structurally speaking a cultural vacuum, as it organises only mechanisms of “bare life” after the breakdown of infrastructure, then it can become a resource for art, since it makes for combinations of ethnic groups, activities and approaches that have been impossible so far. But if artistic work all too easily allies itself with the “chic” of bare life as a so to say politically upgraded form of the Arte Povera, naked cynicism threatens. The ever so desired combination of art and activism has to move within these dialectics, wherever it pitches up camps. This is shown by the subsequent film „Holiday Camp“ (Jennifer Lyons-Reid, Carl Kuddell) that deals with the ambivalent impacts arising from a campaign of liberation at the deportation camp in Woomera (Australia).

CAMP Lab 1 is the first station of the continued researching process of the CAMP-Project.
The results are also going to be documented on the website and put up for discussion. Other single projects will follow in autumn.



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vor_link - 233217.1 kick off

kick off program


vor_link - 233217.1 biographies / materials

Barbara Hribar

Michael Klein

Ine Poppe


vor_link - 233217.1 texts



vor_link - 233217.1 photos: kick.off 

barbara hribar + michale klein

ine poppe + alexander nikolic

Ljubomir Bratic