Katharina Swoboda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ostende

various media, work in progress

 

sound: Sara Pinheiro, violin: Pierre-Henri Dutron, graphic: Carlo Clopath, additional camera: Kamen Stoyanov

 

A project about the "Ostend Company", which was founded by Austrian emperor Charles vi in 1722. Then, Ostend was part of the Austrian South Netherlands. The company was a late attempt by the Habsburg dynasty to establish a Colonial company like Dutch East India Company, which was very profitable at that time. Due to political pressure from England and the Netherlands, the company lasted only shortly.  Still connection between Ostend and Austria can be found. For example, in Volker Weidermanns book "Ostende 1936: Sommer der Freundschaft" one can learn about Stephan Zweig and Joseph Roth spending their summers there.

 

The project assumes, that the Ostend company still exists. Hidden through the centuries, but always working in different endeavors, like running the luxurious train line "Ostend-Vienna Express". Since Ostend Company is an Austrian Company, and music is very - very important for Austrian self-images, music painted on a wall in Ostend are also connected to the company. These music forms the basis of the so called "Ostender Variationen." The singing birds in the company logo refer to the company’s attachment to music.

 

 

This project is about projections of "East" and "West", starting from the Eastern End ("Ostend") and going East. It is also about failed colonial project. Austria was not successful in this business, but Austria found other ways of colonizing the East - by tourism for example.