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!


Well, things are better now that we have dates! They (official types) are meeting on the 13th August to sort money out and transfers will be made the next day.. so we should have money by the 18th at the latest.. They are sorting out money for the next residents then too, so they will actually get paid before they come, but I will have been here for 5 weeks by then.

So, anyway, I feel like there has been much negativity from me of late. Apologies, and today – a good and happy post, about Capital of Culture spending would you believe!
This place, Bellevue, Das Gelbe Haus (The Yellow House), is fantastic! It is about 7-8kms out of Linz, next to all the tower block flats, overlooking the motorway. It opened on the 25th June and closes on 13th September and everything here is free.

Monday = Artist in residency (there are about ten!) presentation or talk – sadly I miss these because my German is hopeless.
Tuesday = film screenings with an introductory talk
Wednesday = Music evening
Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday = workshops, sports, walks, writing, dancing, live music and artists in residence again
Sunday there is also free breakfast from 11.

I have been a few times now and it is always full, people use it, hang out with friends there and most definately take part. I went to a sewing workshop last week and made an apron as well as meeting two seventeen year old Somalian refugees who live opposite and go most days to volunteer or just drinks ridiculous amounts of coffee. They also play for the football team, which they are ectastic about – knock out tournaments with other ad-hoc teams every weekend, but they get to wear a special yellow shirt. How nice is that?

So, a truly useful and inspiring project. I’m not sure this would work quite as well in England, would it?.. certainly can’t imagine the same set-up working in Liverpool. What I mean by that is that I can see it being used to drink in and graffiti on. Perhaps I’m wrong? I hope so. It might be good in a smaller city perhaps..

But yes, it seems like money well spent.


Events here at the Salzamt in Linz have got me thinking about the way artists get treated sometimes. The atmosphere between the three international artists here (including me) is glum to say the least. Instead of getting on with work, we are all pretty worried about money as we have still not been paid. I have just been paid a bit from Tate Liverpool and have borrowed off three people to keep me going. I will have been here three weeks on Thursday and have also paid for my travel to get here. Needless to say, I don’t have any savings to rely on, haven’t worked this month elsewhere and so have no income until September 1st (Yorkshire Sculpture Park). I just feel glad that there are people I can ask for help and that I have pounds not Krooni.

I am starting to feel a bit foolish as there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. I came here on the strength of some emails (the first from Liverpool Biennial – so I know the money will come). There is no contract, no guarantees and even the amount we are getting seems to have changed (materials money has disappeared from the equasion). Apart from not really getting the benefits of being in a new exciting land, there is also the worry that I have to exhibit some new work in three weeks. I had hoped this residency would be a good chance to play about with some materials (wood, concrete and resin were in my head) or make something really ambitious in this wonderful space I have, but currently I am saving my money for food. Although I am sure the money will come before then, time to play about and make is also important, and it feels like it is slipping away. I shall have to be content for now with my paper and cardboard… and I am still being ambitious, but not in the ways I hoped! I feel like this problem may be fixed for the next batch of residents as we are almost like guinea pigs, but that doesn’t help today.

So, how often do artists have to put themselves in this position? I know I have, many times. I have also signed contracts, which included payment dates, amounts and what was expected of me. I got paid on time and did what I said (sometimes more) and it was easy and good. Perhaps contracts don’t always work out either? It just seems artists are not very likely to have savings, a steady income or other back-ups (i.e. living in your overdraft already), so they will be ill-equipped to deal with delays and non-payments. Pah. I suppose another lesson learned; not to rely on immediate payment or to trust vague figures from an email. At least we have beds!


So, the Linz blog has had to go for now. I stopped blogging about my work for lots of reasons last year, and thought it might be different during a residency. But it’s not. I think I tend to get overly introspective and it’s just not that great for the work-making.

It was getting complicated too as various people here at the Salzamt in Linz were reading it, and when I found that out I felt pretty uncomfortable about how much of myself was laid bare for them all to see!

In the meantime, there are some observations I have been making about artists working here and some interviews to write up. I am also busy writing an article for the Linz Neuner Magazine. Just need to wait for my sunkissed glow to die down (ahem) before Jens can take my portrait to go with it.


As I mentioned earlier, I thought the Capital of Culture year in Liverpool pretty much ignored and perhaps even took money out of (?) the grassroots art culture (some of the best, fiestyest and most innovative in the country may I say!). That fact seems to pale into insignificance when the olympics loom into view.

criticalnetwork put it very well on their latest bulletin:

criticalnetwork says NO! to the Cultural Olympiad

We have been receiving a large number of submissions regarding events that form part of the Cultural Olympiad. Please note that we will not list any events that form part of this pointless, hegemonic and excessively drawn-out programme.

As a collective of artists practising throughout the UK we directly oppose the Cultural Olympiad at every level on the basis that it aims to co-opt the work of artists to white wash the crimes of the 2012 Olympics and manufacture an appearance of acceptability at the expensive of (primarily grassroots) arts activity throughout the UK.

A large proportion (more than £200m) of the ludicrous £10bn cost of the 2012 Olympics is being redistributed from the arts sector nationally and is creating a culture in which artists and art organisations are compromising their integrity, desperately trying to incorporate irrelevant Olympic themes in to their work in the hope of receiving financial support. The Cultural Olympiad is the folly of cultural middle-managers and policy makers, it is art as tourism, it is the Capital City over the rest of the country, it is not going to feature on criticalnetwork.”

Couldn’t have said it better.. I hope the park will at least continue to be used, how depressing to go somewhere like Barcelona and see a garveyard of a park that was once an over-budget, must have thing just for the Olympics. I am not a fan, yet here I am trying to get a flight from BA in their competition. This is all tied in with the Olympics and they say on the website ‘This scheme will look for individuals who demonstrate the values associated with Olympic and Paralympic Games and who strive to be the best’ hmm, I strive to be MY best, which is not the same thing.. but I really want the flight. Victoria, a book artist in Argentina, and I have been emailing for ages and have also been brewing great plans! Am I a hypocrite? Is British Airways giving away free flights (based on some bizarre voting scheme, but they go ahead and pick the shortlist regardless) system the same as supporting the Olympics? I hope not!

Don’t even get me started on the allotments.

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Do any artists really want the Olymipics? I’m curious..