SOLONG ois bleibt, weils oiwei scho so woa, bin i Feminist:in.
AS LONG AS things stay the same because it`s always been this way, I will be a feminist.
On January 19, Katharina Cibulka installed a SOLANGE net of about 200 m 2 on the façade of Bad Ischl’s post office at Auböckplatz 4. She was invited by the European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut 2024 to realize her 29th installation of the international SOLANGE series in Bad Ischl.
The installation was preceded by a participatory process. Interested residents from the region were invited to submit their personal SOLANGE sentences. The response in the Salzkammergut was immense: around 270 SOLANGE sentences were sent in, addressing issues such as the gender pay gap, mental load, unpaid care work, poverty in retirement, fear of assault, gender discrimination, judgements around bodies and clothing styles, beauty ideals, stereotypical gender roles and problematic aspects of traditional customs.
In a joint decision with the artistic management team, the following sentence was selected: SOLONG OIS BLEIBT, WEILS OIWEI SCHO SO WOA, BIN I FEMINIST:IN. (As long as things stay the same because it’s always been this way, I will be a feminist.)
The artist elaborates:
“We made the conscious decision to create a sentence in the Upper Austrian dialect. Our aim is to convey a strong, stirring message in a single statement. Bad Ischl thrives on its tradition and customs are practiced with great dedication. At the same time, especially young people want to break free from the constraints of traditional roles and shape their own future. This sense of tension is both a regional and international issue. How do we deal with these conflicts, how can we talk to each other? Are we still talking to each other at all? How can the old and the new coexist and, in the best case, be mutually beneficial?”
Adhering to traditions without questioning them is often justified by claiming that they have always served us well. So why should anything change? The question of how remains unanswered in this line of argument. What efforts and at whose expense have they “served”? Do traditional role models still fit the people they were once intended for?
The idyllic, picture-perfect image that forms the basis for tourism and revenue can be deceptive. We no longer live as we did in the days of the Hapsburg empire. Telegrams are no longer wired at the post office. We no longer travel by horse and carriage, but by car. It would never occur to anyone to question these kinds of progress. However, as soon as it comes to breaking up encrusted social structures that no longer adequately represent and respect key parts of society, we face resistance. Every attempt at change is met with suspicion, arguments go unheard and innovation is blocked in the name of tradition. While tradition is glorified, innovation is – often wrongly – rejected straight away.
“For far too long, women, girls and marginalized groups in particular were not heard and had no voice. Much of what has “always been this way” was and continues to be at their expense. This needs to change. The SOLANGE team advocates for such changes with a sentence in public space that encourages healthy discussion and dialog. A shared endeavor to find positions, mutually respectful conversations, listening without instant judgement, discussions with consideration for one another. This is a better way to bring about change, to soften hardened positions, to bring innovation closer to tradition and vice versa. It might also lead to the realization that we have more in common than we think – in the Salzkammergut, in other European regions, and beyond.”
European Capital of Culture Bad Ischl Salzkammergut
Kurdirektion Verlagsbuchhandlung GmbH.
Fotocredits: Daniel Mayer, Katharina Cibulka, Ferdinand Cibulka