SUSMA! Art as activism in times of political silencing

Isin Önol, Herwig Turk

Our contemporary democracies – depressingly inadequate, yet unsurpassed forms of regime – are under threat, due to their own failures to construct social equality, sustainability, and peace. Populist agitators cultivate hatred and reintroduce scapegoating and open discrimination to mainstream politics. These increasing tensions in the political climate make necessary new forms of alliances and organizations that invent and implement improved solutions for co-existence.

It has been a longstanding concern of many artistic researchers to participate in collective efforts to document and analyse the status quo and to trigger a renewed inquiry into social change. In doing so, they aim at challenging the dominant narratives of political realities and shift the perceptions (or rather, ignorance) of the societal arrangements and hierarchies that we have become all too accustomed to.

We are excited to welcome a courageous round of artists who have employed new and exceptional tactics to draw attention to structural asymmetries in political representation and economic participation. They have succeeded in exposing and criticizing hegemonic and postcolonial injustice; Doing so is hardly ever possible without critically evaluating and transforming the context of contemporary art – not only in art institutions, but often as well the public space.

Over the course of the Focus Week, a panel discussion and a series of workshops will be organised to present and discuss these outstanding artistic practices. We will emphasize the conviction that any attempt to bring about social change requires not only great courage and a willingness to take very real risks, but also long-term dedication.

With the Focus Week organised for the Students of the Social Design: Art as Urban Innovation Program at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna we would like to open a discussion platform to debate and learn about alternative forms of artistic research and artistic methods that might inspire future practice and open perspectives towards arts as urban innovation.


13.03.2017 Angewandte Innovation Lab,
Franz Josefs Kai 3, 1010 Wien


13:30 | Introduction by Işın Önol and Herwig Turk

13:40 | Asli Kislal (AT) | diverCITYLAB: it is time to have a piece of the Pie

14:35 | Oliver Ressler (AT) | Everything's coming together while everything's falling apart

15:10 | Public discussion

15:35 | Break

16:10 | Janez Janša (SL) | NAME Readymade

17:10 | Zeyno Pekünlü (TU) | At the edge of all possibles

17:55 | Public discussion




Angewandte Innovation Lab
Franz Josefs Kai 3
1010 Wien
Isin Önol
Herwig Turk