CREATIVE AUSTRIANS – Building bridges into the future

Transmission bands between culture, society and economy

It has long become evident: The problems of the future can no longer be solved with the paradigms and concepts of the present alone. It takes curiosity, ingenuity, courage and also a great deal of inner freedom to leave dominant models of thought behind. Creativity and innovation are mostly to be found in the transition zones and on the borders between the different areas of society. New things are created where people, things and ideas come into contact with each other that would normally never exchange ideas. The Cultural Section of the Foreign Ministry sees itself as a kind of bridge builder along these borders: geographically, socio-culturally and politically. The present book and support programme CREATIVE AUSTRIANS – Vordenker_innen für die Gesellschaft von morgen – is an expression of this self-image.

With this new program we want to connect different “worlds” with each other in the hope that something creative and new will emerge from it. When we talk about “the creative” today, it is very often from an economically determined perspective. But the contribution that creative people can make to society goes far beyond that. And it is also part of our culture. With this publication, we want to open the framework of discourse and compare theoretical positions with very practical applications and achievements of young Austrian creative people. In four chapters that recur twice in completely different ways:

Questions of the relationship between creativity and the spirit of the times, society, responsibility and the economy are dealt with. Firstly, from a theoretical perspective with contributions by creative Austrian thinkers and, secondly, by presenting portraits of a number of “Creative Austrians” who have not only thought about these issues theoretically, but have already developed practical solutions and concepts with which they have made a concrete contribution to solving the problems of the present. Solutions that can be applied on a global scale as well as on a very small scale in the municipal sector.

The bow is deliberately drawn wide: From cultural theoretical and philosophical positions with contributions by Gerald Bast or Peter Strasser, for example, who fundamentally deal with questions of the influence of dominant paradigms on the development of creativity, to social studies, such as Daniel Erlacher’s contribution, on the influence of creative media use on the democracies of the future, to considerations of how creative concepts can be used to meet the challenges that we will inevitably face with globally limited resources and simultaneous population and economic growth.

This theoretical arc is closed with a discussion of the direct relationship between creativity and the economy, which shows that “creative industries” can generate far more than just profit maximisation, which many creative people today are very sceptical about anyway, as the trenchant criticism by Eric Poettschacher makes clear. What it can mean in practical terms to deal creatively and critically with the zeitgeist is shown, for example, in the works of Manu Luksch, who, with film and video art actionism, critically examines the paradigm of wanting to establish security through maximum surveillance.

When it comes to the relationship between creativity and society, it becomes clear that often very simple ideas can have enormous potential: As for example in the database platform “Use potential” by Julia Bachler, with which the individual skills and qualifications of refugees are made recordable. Projects such as Markus Enenkel’s drought app SATIDA, which uses voluntary data input from smartphone users in a region to make highly accurate forecasts of impending drought or famine catastrophes that would not be possible with currently available satellite forecasting models, show how creative solutions can be used to create opportunities for bearing responsibility for society. These data can provide international aid organisations with crucial information for the timely and sufficient disposition of relief supplies. And projects such as “simon – The mini power station for everyone” by Simon Niederkircher and Michael Galhaup demonstrate that creative economic ideas can be of economic benefit not only to producers but also to their customers. These are just a few examples of the work of young Austrian creative people presented in this volume.

This volume is rounded off by a comprehensive service section that provides a detailed overview of funding, study programmes, communities, networks and interest groups by and for creative people in Austria. On the part of Austrian international culture, we want to accompany many “Creative Austrians” in their international activities in the coming years as partners and with partners in the world in order to contribute as bridge builders into the future.

Creative Austrians – Das Buch / PDF German. 

Creative Austrians – Das Buch / PDF English.