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Living Rooms - The art of mobilizing belonging(s)

© Projektteam "Living Rooms"

Mobilization of Belonging
In the context of migration and cultural diversity, the political mobilization of belonging has become increasingly important. Anti-immigrant political actors gather support on the basis of exclusionary discourses that classify certain groups as not-belonging and use this logic to justify restrictive policies and discriminatory practices. Also at the level of everyday practices, conflicts are increasingly perceived through the lens of ethnic and cultural differences. Against this background, the project sets out to understand how belonging is mobilized in a particular social and spatial setting, and how this mobilization of belonging relates to the maintenance, crossing, or shifting of subjective and emotionally-laden boundaries.

Arts and Sciences
Despite the growing interest in belonging in the scientific literature, the development of a full-fledged analytical framework with a compatible methodology capable of capturing the ‘thick’ aspect of emotions and the anti-essentialist aspect of fluidity and imagination is still lacking. The main objective of the project is to fill this gap by developing an innovative conceptual framework and methodology that joins insights and techniques from the arts and the social sciences to enable us to analyze how the mobilization of belonging and boundary-making processes occur, while taking into account the subjective and emotional aspects of belonging that make it so politically relevant.

The Living Room
A Viennese Gemeindebau (social housing complex) will serve as the field in which we will carry out our empirical research. This will consist in an artistic intervention inside the Gemeindebau, which will serve as a ‘laboratory’ where personal objects (belongings) will be moved around (mobilized) by selected groups of residents in the setting of an artistically created living room. This will allow for a visual representation of belonging, where the objects will serve as a ‘language’ with which the residents of the Gemeindebau will express themselves. This exercise will be followed by a performance where the living rooms produced by each group will be presented to the public and a round table discussion where the dwellers will take part as experts and analyze the experiment together with scientists and artists.

This ‘laboratory’ embodies the interface between arts and sciences, and accounts for the innovative character of the project. It is, at the same time, a physical space, where concrete objects may be arranged and rearranged, and a ‘hypercultural space’, where imaginary boundaries may be crossed, shifted or reinforced. Moreover, it is a space for interaction where artists, scientists and citizens collaborate in the production of knowledge. Developing the ‘laboratory’ into a full-fledged methodology and making it fruitful for both the social sciences and the arts will be a formidable but stimulating challenge.

Project Partners

University of Vienna
Siegelinde Rosenberger (Project leader)
Julia Mourão Permoser

Demokratiezentrum Wien
Gertraud Diendorfer
Elisabeth Röhrlich (until january 2011)
Aleksandra Ptaszyńska (since february 2011)

University of Applied Arts Vienna
Florian Bettel
Julia Rosenberger

Simonetta Ferfoglia
Heinrich Pichler

Funded by
Vienna Science and Technology Fund(WWTF)
Art(s) and Sciences Call 2009


© Demokratiezentrum Wien



For more Information visit the project's website

Demokratiezentrum Wien
Hegelgasse 6 / 5, A - 1010 Wien
Tel.: +43 / 1 / 512 37 37, Fax.: +43 / 1 / 512 37 37-20