ImHaus 5 "The Next Step"

28 / 01 / 02
ImHaus Lecture Series / Discussion for members
over the self-definition of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

Discussion with Board, Executive Board, Artistic Director
Before planning for the next Artistic Director,
it is noteworthy to discuss organisational changes


The haus.0 program initiated in its first months the ImHaus series as a members discussion forum, related to the self-definition of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. The idea was to together trace out of lines of thought and action that define the different foundations of the institution, not just as character or spirit, but as an overall institutional identity.

The ImHaus series began by focusing on the institution’s constitution, to consider the intentions that can be seen as a founding operating system of rules. The subsequent ImHaus meetings pertained to the foundation of the media studios as an integral part of the unique institutional character. In 1999 the issue of the studios status and condition was relevant: no digital platform had been provided; the institution had no actual computer and programs, the studios were still not yet consolidated on one floor, and there was no clear initiative to outline any responsible future policy that includes these.

In this period of transformation, even technical media facilities can never be simply technical discussions, specifically in an institution whose foundation was linked to an emphasis on contemporary electronic media, and to making available media studios for artists to produce at a competent level. Parallel during this same time period as the 1999 ImHaus series, the role of the haus.0 program clearly included engaged membership, taking up structural questions, but as well, as a very vocal component raising issues in that year’s member’s meeting that had one of the institution’s largest changes in board and executive board, including the executive director.

In these last remaining months of haus.0 program, in a sense to close the circle, the ImHaus series is returned to the institution shown to have always been a dynamic process. For this dynamic to remain a contemporary process requires energy, the definition of a living institution and not simply static, empty building rooms to fill. It is a dynamic that has managed to develop all the digital studio goals, renovations and restructuring linking disparate floors into one institution, a responsible equipment purchasing, reestablish project workingrooms with grants for use of studios, linking and working with different institutions, and as well, an international artistic direction program, all the while remaining within the limits of the changing economy.

From the beginning of the ImHaus series through this next meeting, the constant subject concerns the development of this ongoing process linked to the character of this institution. The series reflects how the haus.0 program was specifically included in from the beginning, as part of the overall process of engagement, and as part of its concept, although the definition and structural categories remained. Thus when considering this transition out of haus.0 program, it is beneficial to clarify the actual Künstlerhaus representational politics and mediation character of its institutional structure, which have remained constant throughout as:

The Board and Executive Board members vote on all required institutional decision making process, and are structural positions to the verein. Holding an elected seat is considered a position of honor , and unpaid.

The Administrative Director has no vote on the board, is the institutions only permanent, fulltime, position.

The Artistic Director has no vote on the board as well, is a two-year freelance contracted position, and not fulltime.

Institutional dynamics requires engagement.

In order to reflect on the character of engagement embodied by the different types of institutional representational structures in Kuenstlerhaus, it is necessary to reflect on the nature of what is really defined by engaged membership. From the foundation of the Künstlerhaus through the haus.0, the issue rest not on debating positions but of actual engagement, that will always define the kind of institutional dynamic of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.