Linz 09

As you might know, every year one or two smaller cities in Europe get the label „Cultural Capital of Europe“. After my experiences in my home town Graz in 2003, my anticipation for Linz 2009 was pretty high (and the Pflasterspektakel last year). In Graz this was a festival for the whole population, because there were many temporary installations, e.g. all street lights in the inner city were coloured alternating green and blue, or the running gag that every triple repetition of an object got a big letter „3“ to it (you could find it in many shop windows, on posters and in the city landscape).

Unfortunately I was really disappointed about Linz this time.  If you just walk the city you don’t get, that you are walking through a cultural capital, just some advertisements points you to it. For sure there are many exhibitions, and there’s the newly built Ars Electronica Centre with it’s big stairs – a new hang-out for the youths. In my opinion it’s important that culture doesn’t reside behind walls, in rooms were you might even have to pay for the entrance. Culture has to be everywhere, so that the inhabitants get influenced by it too, and that they become a part of it. You should be surprised every now and then.

The most annoying thing was the traffic in the inner city. For sure it’s not much traffic, but every now and then I had to avoid a car. You can’t concentrate on the exploration of the city, and they don’t fit on pictures. Worst on the main square, it was really noisy. It was also hard to find a place to sit and relax, most squares are just empty, no benches, chairs or other amenities.

One notable exception was the exploration of the Nazi-past of Linz. During Hitler Linz became a big industrial city, many settlements were built in that time. On many places you could read about what happend there during this dark chapter of Linz. There’s a webpage to it, in case you are interested: In Situ Linz 09. One of the representative buildings which was built in that time are the bridge head buildings (Brückenkopfbauten) between Nibelungen-bridge and main square. This year parts of the façade were removed, to visualize the construction and the conditions how it was built, accompanied by information in the windows.

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