Blame the malleable nature of our brains. The things we consume have a way of nestling into the cervices of our neural cortex for a long haul. Regardless of how curiously or how innocuously we absorb information, it shapes our experiences and memories, and therefore our identities. It is that subjective nature of history, accumulated information, that grows not only our brains, but also our news feeds.
The way in which societies have shaped their past, in monuments and other public anchoring points of cultural heritage, says more about them than about history itself. It says even more about their nostalgia; Their relation to the irreversibility of time, a state of being “homesick”, or a wistful, sentimental yearning for the return to a past.
At this moment in time, the Austrian Cultural Forum’s memorial year programme embraces a contemporary take on commemorating the past 100 years. The exhibition questions common ways of commemoration and the people, things and events we remember, celebrate, mourn, memorialise, acknowledge and are mindful of.
Within this frame Newstalgia explores the aftermath of political and aesthetic choices made in the sphere of public representation. It comprises memories and artworks that celebrate snapshots of histories. Newstalgia evinces remembered and forgotten history, departing from the fall of the Austrian-Hungarian empire and flowing into a reflection on Europe’s current status quo. It ponders on and poeticizes the facts, causes and consequences thereof. Deliberate notions of fighting the polarization of society thus are presented here in a selection of artworks that offer a junction between melancholy and humour, emotion and reason, and windows through which to see and understand the present.
Curated by Alina Ana Kolar, the exhibition features works by Catrin Bolt, Charlie Billingham, Club Fortuna, Eduard Freudmann, Guy Oliver, Kate Mackeson, Lara Verena Bellenghi, Markus Riedler, Elisabeth Molin, Omri Livne, Pauł Sochacki and ZOLLAMT.
The exhibition extends beyond the gallery space in a dedicated issue of the street publication Arts of the Working Class.
The exhibition is supported by the Zukunftsfond Austria and the BKA (Austrian Federal Chancellery).