Apologies if this becomes part Linzblog, part paidblog for a while – it all seems to seep through somehow!
On my quest to find independent artists groups: I found one! Just by accident and some word of mouth asking.. There is a big group of artists who live in an old industrial building by the docks areas. It’s really interesting round that area, very much like Liverpool’s old industrial bits, and although I haven’t been inside the house I plan to make a visit soon.
Comparing Liverpool & Linz, it occurred to me how much grass roots level organisations in the UK try hard to professionalise themselves and in some ways, imitate the larger institutions. Not everyone, but certainly a good amount. This trend of becoming so comercially adept (largely I think, a vital strategy to secure ever more elusive funding) seems to have spread and the number of sleek indie spaces across the UK has grown (and become easier to find due to the awesome power of the internet). This is good, especially if it creates strong networks/communities in local art scenes, as well as providing easier and more visible links to other places. However, how much of this is a fairly hollow process? How many artists and groups are just going through the motions to create something that looks good on the outside, but actually is just based on other people’s projects? Doing what they think they SHOULD be doing, not something they have really thought through.
In Linz it feels like the pendulum swings a bit too far in the other direction – artists getting on in secret and not engaging with the larger art scene as much. It seems that the kind of activity I am used to seeing from young or less established artists, like exhibitions in empty spaces, or groups setting up, is more the preserve of students here. This goes some way to explaining why it is quiet in the summer.
After getting away from the organising, I have been having conversations with a couple of artists via e-mail. At the moment this feels like all I can manage in terms of networking and collaborative efforts. However, there are some good and deep connections developing here, so I hope it does become something more substantial in the future; when it’s ready!