Dezentrale Medien, represented by Eva Dertschei, Petja Dimitrova, Carlos Toledo and Borjana Ventzislavova, was invited to London for a residency as part of the visual arts programme of the Austrian Cultural Forum. The emphasis for this visit was on researching models of practice and learning about conditions under which similar organisations and institions are working in the UK. For Dezentrale Medien, it is not the question of particular origin which is the most relevant, but the questions of exclusion and access to education for minority groups in the fields of art and new media.
In Spring 2001, Dezentrale Medien was invited by the Austrian organisation 'Initiative Minderheiten' (Minorities Initiative) to develop a media project with teenagers from migrant backgrounds. Dezentrale Medien is a project that takes the living realities of their participants as starting point for learing about internet and new media.
The Dezentrale Medien project aimed to create a socio-political discourse about the living realities of the teenagers and to discover the issues that they wanted to deal with in a visual, artistic way. The emphasis was on process and team-work. The personal interaction of the teenagers over a long period was an important outcome. For the teenagers their voluntary co-operation over several months was initially an opportunity to get free internet access and a basic course in new media. Designing and creating without ‘evaluation’ of right and wrong (good or bad) was a new experience. Virualities (dreams, fantasies, hopes, expectations) and realities were brought together and made public. The exchange of experience and images about living in Vienna promoted the feeling of solidarity among the teenagers and helped put their problems in perspective.
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