As we all know, man’s expulsion from Paradise was coupled with his being condemned to a life of hard labor. Instead of simply taking what he needed from the abundance of nature, man would henceforth have to produce his own goods. This law remained in effect for a long time, but the postindustrial era heralded the renewed possibility of letting nature work for us, similar to money, by patenting her products and their genetic design, or by making her beauty into a selling point for exclusive locations. This winter semester, Kunstraum Lakeside will host two artistic projects dealing with this theme: one explores facets of the current economization of nature and of life, and the other takes a look at the phenomenon of “naturalization” of work and business.

Kicking off the semester is an exhibition by Ines Doujak dedicated to the neo-colonial practice of “biopiracy.” Doujak traces the routes by which natural resources from “biodiversity” regions in the southern hemisphere are appropriated and marketed by multinational corporations. If new economic Edens are unfolding here for selected enterprises, based on the exploitation of traditional knowledge in these regions, it is not without the complicity of knowledge producers in the West, such as botanical gardens, for example, whose program of investigating and preserving nature is increasingly associated with the practice of genetic modification. Ines Doujak’s installation on one aspect of economy and power under the sign of globalization pursues the question of how the aesthetic and ethical value of the “diversity of life” becomes a factor in the economic value chain, resulting in monopolies that in turn counteract multiplicity by negatively influencing the local communities on whose knowledge they are built.

Until recently, parks were commonly understood to be models of artfully laid out nature set aside for leisure pastimes, recreation or entertainment. Today, however, parks are often places for work, research and development. What concept of work lies behind the idea of a science & technology park? “The Park – Investigation in a Post-Productive Cluster,” a presentation by Peter Spillmann, Katja Reichard and Marion von Osten in the form of an interim report on their film project, is based on research and interviews that the team have been conducting since 2005 at Lakeside Park. Do the actual working conditions in such a location correspond to the concept of a park as a place where the boundaries between work and free time are fluid? – This is the central question asked by the investigation. What significance do “soft” factors such as landscape architecture, a massage salon or an arts program have for the outward image the park projects and for the everyday life of the people who work there? What is the position of the artificial, island-like park as place of work as opposed to the naturally evolved diversity of the city? And does the local consolidation of globally operating business, research and culture in this type of park, designed to elicit synergies between the three areas, act as a model for society, similar to the way the Baroque park did for absolutism and the English landscape garden for liberalism? Which social system does it then represent?

Christian Kravagna, Hedwig Saxenhuber