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Vice-Rector Ingeborg Erhart and Anna Artaker speak at the opening of Forum Alpbach 2021

Congress Centrum Alpbach, Herz-Kremenak-Saal

Past the Storm, A Dream for Europe

Registration Live-Stream

A stream of the opening can be found on

Ringing in a brave new chapter for European leadership, this year's opening pays homage to lessons learned and big ideas ahead of us. "The balance between what people want to achieve and the fundamental values needed as a stabilising counter pole fascinate me. The root and the visible part of plants serve as a metaphor - Hypocotyl is the connecting piece." says Vincent Pongracz about his composition HY COTYL, played by Klangforum Wien.


Karnitschnig, Matthew Helmut
Chief Europe Correspondent, POLITICO Europe


Sakellaropoulou, Katerina
President, Hellenic Republic

Van der Bellen, Alexander
Federal President, Republic of Austria

Treichl, Andreas
President, European Forum Alpbach

Artaker, Anna
Artist, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Pongracz, Vincent

Erhart, Ingeborg
Vice-Rector for Art and Teaching, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna


Klangforum Wien

Anna Artaker names the people who appear by name in the programme in 75 Years of Alpbach. First and last names are displayed on the glass walls of the Congress Centre, with a distinction made between male and female participants: Women's names can be read from outside, men’s names can be read from inside. This arrangement emphasises the position of the readers. Explore this project not only on site, but also online in our augmented reality space! Anna Artaker studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.

Fassadenansicht mit Beschriftung
Anna Artaker, Foto © Norbert Freudenthaler


Digital Conference August 24 – September 03, 2021
Arts & Culture (ART) August 18 – September 03, 2021
Seminar Week (SEM) August 18 – 24, 2021
Tyrol Days (TYR) August 21 – 22, 2021
Opening August 24, 2021
Intro Day and  Artists in Discourse (MEET) August 25, 2021
Technology (TEC) August 26 – 27,  2021
Health (MED) August 27 – 29, 2021
Economy (ECN) August 29 – 31, 2021 – Departure: September 01, 2021
Politics (POL) September 01 – 03, 2021

Speech from Ingeborg Erhart:

Dear President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou,
Dear Federal President of the Republic of Austria Alexander Van der Bellen,
Dear President of the European Forum Alpbach Andreas Treichl,
Dear Vicepresidents Marie Ringler, Katja Gentinetta, Florence Gaub, Katarzyna Pisarska and Michaela Fritz,
Dear local and global participants of the European Forum Alpbach,

As Vice Rector at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and responsible for art and teaching, the visibility of art and artists is a particular concern of mine. And where would it be more visible at the moment than here in Alpbach, where international thinkers and decision-makers of all ages come together - and have done so for more than 75 years now.

In the lockdowns of recent months, we have all felt the absence of art and culture and the associated closures of concert halls, museums and theatres as painful. Their value has been brought to our minds - perhaps more clearly than ever before.

I am all the more pleased to introduce the artist and researcher Anna Artaker to you today and to talk about her artwork created especially for Forum Alpbach.

The idea of commissioning an artist to deal with the Forum's archive on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the European Forum Alpbach last year is a correct and important one, because an awareness of history lays the foundation for understanding the present and thinking into the future.

Anna Artaker's artistic approach is ideal for this and I congratulate the responsible persons of the European Forum Alpbach and especially the head of the art and culture programme Elisabeth Schack on their choice.

In addition to philosophy and political science, Anna Artaker studied conceptual art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and is currently working there as an Elise Richter Research Fellow on her habilitation on the subject of Mediums of History. In addition to her research work, she exhibits internationally and is the first person to become a member of the Young Academy of Sciences in the field of artistic research. I may quote from her publication Atlas of Arcadia: „Artaker's work explores the role images play in our perception of the world. She has worked with found footage and various scientific imaging techniques to research the ways that images create reality, thus highlighting the shared origins of art and science." *1

For the work she has created for the European Forum Alpbach, she has taken on the role of chronicler. She looked at the lists of speakers in the programme booklets since the founding of the international discussion forum.

The speakers and participants in the various panels, a total of 16,500 people, had to be excerpted from the printed programmes. It turned out that over all the years only 3,323 women have taken part in the European Forum Alpbach in an official speaker role, i.e. only about 20%.

The artist has restricted herself exclusively to the names on the list thus obtained, because being named in the programme means a kind of officialisation. Many women, including many partners of speakers and invitees, have very much played an important social, networking and also intellectual role for Alpbach, but this has not been accompanied by any mention in the programme. These women remain invisible to posterity.

The visual realisation of the research plays with visibility and the degree of participation that can be derived from it. For this, Anna Artaker has focused on the glass surfaces of the façade and inside between the foyers. On the outsides, one can read the dates and the names of the women in bold print. The men's names are written in mirror writing and can only be read comfortably from the inside.

OUTSIDE | INSIDE is the title of the expansive installation that makes not only the participants of the European Forum Alpbach but also passers-by such as residents, tourists or suppliers think about which groups of people were included and which were or are excluded.

The names written in white sticky letters tell us not only about the degree of women's participation in international discourses over the years, but also, for example, about which countries the people might come from. It still seems that the majority of participants are German-speaking and belong to the global North. This is likely to change now that the European Forum Alpbach is being held in hybrid form.

The pandemic with the various lockdowns has also shown us how important it is to point out social imbalances. This also applies to the feminist work OUTSIDE | INSIDE by Anna Artaker.

During the lockdowns, women's multiple workloads increased as soon as wage and care work could no longer be separated. In the scientific field, this was quickly reflected in the numbers of publications. Women published significantly less, men even more. *2

OUTSIDE | INSIDE makes it clear to interested viewers that only in the last few years about 40% of the participants in the forum were women, so the ratio was almost balanced. The arrangement of the names, that those of the women are to be read from the outside and those of the men from the inside, underlines the position of the reader, who is either outside or inside the building, so to speak inside or outside the inner circles of power. The association with the glass ceiling, which women find difficult to penetrate, is implied. Anna Artaker draws a picture of gender relations in Central Europe over the past 75 years and links this to the place where debates about the future were and are being held.

Since the installation with the adhesive letters directly at the Congress Centrum Alpbach is temporary and cannot be experienced by visitors who participate digitally, an augmented reality version was also developed that brings the names of the women into the personal environment using a mobile device. One finds oneself in the company of 3,323 women who have enriched the European Forum Alpbach with their contributions and thus also influenced the economic and socio-political debates in Europe since the Second World War. On the homepage of the European Forum Alpbach you will find the corresponding QR code. *3

The Academy, where the first female student was admitted to the Institute of Architecture 100 years ago in the academic year 1920/21, has been a leader in gender issues and the establishment of non-binary structures for years. Even in the context of the current move back to Schillerplatz after almost four years of restoration, there are programme points that explore the history of women at the academy.

Internationalisation and decolonisation are further important lines of development and thus the historical art collections of the Academy in the rooms of the Gemäldegalerie (Paintingsgallery) will be questioned from an external, i.e. non-Eurocentric perspective and accompanied by a dialogue with contemporary art as part of the resettlement activities by the Indian artist and curator trio Raqs Media Collective. I cordially invite you all to visit the exhibitions. They will open at Schillerplatz on 8 October. *4

Finally, I would like to emphasise how much I welcome the fact that the European Forum Alpbach attaches such great importance to the Arts and Culture Programme. The topics that Anna Artaker raises with OUTSIDE | INSIDE and that will be discussed tomorrow by Olga Neuwirth at Artists in Discourse show that artists are important sources of inspiration far beyond the apparent boundaries of the arts!

I would like to thank Anna Artaker for her great work, which makes the participation of women visible and encourages us as recipients not to lose sight of gender issues in the discussions about the future. And I would like to thank the European Forum Alpbach for their invitation and hospitality. I would like to thank you all for your attention and look forward to the coming lectures, discussions and talks!

1 Blurb, Anna Artaker and Meike S. Gleim, Atlas of Arcadia, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, Cologne 2020

2 This is also confirmed by an announcement of the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research on the occasion of International Women's Day 2021: "The COVID 19 pandemic has comprehensively changed our living and working environment - and has also had a massive impact on gender relations: experiences and findings point to a significant increase in multiple burdens, especially for women, an increase in violence in families and an underrepresentation of women in decision-making processes and in the media as experts. (...) First internationalmstudies show that the scientific publication activity during the COVID-19 pandemic increased less for women in relation to men, regardless of the subject." , retrieved 22.08.2021

3 , retrieved 22.08.2021

4 , retrieved 22.08.2021