The academic year 03|04 was characterized by an internal discussion regarding the Academy's traditional structures. Not only the switch to full legal capacity but also social developments in recent decades have called for a careful consideration of the training programs for artists. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna has used the past year for orienting the range of courses in all areas towards the relevant contemporary conditions and discourses both structurally and from the point of view of content in order to offer its students a selective and attractive program corresponding to their interests.
At the Institute for Fine Arts, the old master class principle was replaced by a flexible structure based on contemporary artistic approaches. Now, students do not have to decide for a certain genre but may choose between various artistic media and the respective professorships and departments according to their individual needs and semester of study.
Since the last academic year, the program for fine arts includes a program for art theory and cultural studies which students may choose after finishing the first part of their studies. This offer reflects the increasing significance of theoretical implications in artists' practice and rather relies on a transdisciplinary access to constructions of subjects, space, time, media, and the public than on a doubling of classical university disciplines.
A new field included in the range of fine art courses is Film and TV for which Harun Farocki has been responsible since the summer semester 2004. Manfred Pernice could be won to succeed Bruno Gironcoli and is now responsible for Object Sculpture; he has started with the new academic year 04|05 on the basis of a three-year contract. The appointment of Carl Pruscha's definitive successor for Architectural Design (Habitat, Environment & Conservation) will have to be postponed until the University Council will adopt the development plan. Until then, Eyal Weizman will fill the function on the basis of a one-year contract.
Sabeth Buchmann represents a young and critical addition to the Art Theory and Cultural Studies staff. Her voice will also deepen the discussion on modern and post-modern art so essential for the Academy's objectives.
The study program for Conservation and Restoration will be extended by a further professorship for the conservation and restoration of contemporary and modern artworks in the next academic year which will also cover preventive issues. This also includes a transdisciplinary combination of current practical strategies in art with theoretical debates concerning the setting up of archives, as well as the documentation and preservation of cultural artifacts against the backdrop of an emerging media society.
Starting with the winter semester 04|05, Martin Beck will be involved in developing the Craft, Design and Architecture Education at the Institute for Secondary School Teaching Degrees where he will also explore issues of everyday culture in the context of an examination of institutional structural conditions from schools to museums from a both artistic and scholarly point of view.
In addition, the next academic year will see the start of two research projects:
1. Under the direction of Chantal Mouffe, a lecture and program structure will be set up which will focus on the formation of concepts of the public and their change or, to be more precise, on the precarious relationships between production and reception or the public and the protagonists in the discussion on cultural and educational policy issues.
2. Thanks to the financial means granted as part of the UNIFRASTRUKTUR II program, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna was able to start an art and TV project dedicated to the communication of artistic and scholarly approaches through media channels such as TV and the extension of classical institutionalized apparatus. With this project, the Academy has centered on a contemporary infrastructure for the communication and presentation of subjects relevant in terms of cultural and educational as well as social policies to relate to a telematic understanding of the individual and society in this regard.