Heumat is an artistic examination of the emotional construction of an Austrian identity based on a cultural past, which is essentially linked to idealized traditions and aesthetics of Alpine environments. A current issue is the confusion of the once experienced real homeland with a socio-politically idealized homeland.
The project observes nostalgic, subjectively as well as socially observable desires for rootedness, homeland and identity, which find their breeding ground and propagandistic stage in Alpine cultural regions. Attempts to satisfy these longings lead to nostalgic escapism: a romanticization, glorification and mystification of a supposedly shared cultural past. Such anti-modern and nostalgic renaissance counteracts feelings of cultural uprootedness (Entwurzelung) and alienation. The highly functional, yet empty promise of such a “retrotopian” homeland is intended to make a complex present and future appear less threatening. It is (mis)used by reactionary and patriotic-nationalist ideologies, abusing and perverting concepts such as homeland and identity to increase their socio-political influence. Tendencies of this kind represent a common mechanism of absorption to create an affirmative view towards challenges in a complex world. Through today’s social instability and the recourse to the past, these concepts can be highly stylized as categories worth protecting and worth preserving, which must be defended against supposed cultural threats of any kind, in order to guarantee the secure continuation of one's own existence into the future, while being turned backwards.
The project Heumat realizes counter-movements in urban space in different formats, with the aim of disrupting, deconstructing, and reshaping nationalist mystifications; and the aim of encouraging the abandonment of over-emotional and national-erotic ties to the past in favour of a critical-affirmative reflection of one’s cultural self-conception and self-portrayal in the present.
- June 2019
- Lukas Weithas