continent. maps a topology of unstable confluences and ranges across new thinking, traversing interstices and alternate directions in culture, theory, biopolitics and art.
Issue 7.1 / 2018: 1-2

Letter from the editors

Bernhard Garnicnig, Maximilian Thoman

Now that the editorial process is complete and I am ready to click the ‘Publish’ button, the editor (if we can still call ourselves by this authority laden term) finds himself confronted with the unavoidable task of formulating an appropriate “final word” which the journal format normally labels "Introduction" or "Letter From the Editors”. Since the rest of the material in this issue is either self-explanatory or unintelligible, I would like to take the opportunity provided by this journal to shift from a deliberately impersonal exposition to a very brief statement about personal meanings.[1]

As its founding Very Artistic Director (until 2018), the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien has taught me to have a deep sense of scepticism towards stories with introductions and conclusions that aim to open or close a body of knowledge with authoritative authority. Working as much with historical material in the library as in-conversation on the trottoir, it became evident that linearity requires too much omission from the complexity of city and self. What instead should be said here is that the contributions made to the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien since 2014, along with this publication, are part of a history that is not cohesively linear nor simply retroactively re-organised. Rather, each part adds a layer to this historic surface dedicated to the projection of past, present and future alike,[2] which began to exist before our program launched and will continue long after we are done and gone. 

Over the four years of working with Palais des Beaux Arts Wien as a site, location, space and place, the artists, writers, visitors and myself found ourselves in the folds and loops of time in which cities, buildings and institutions are continuously re/created. Working among a hundred years of Nows embodied in marble and plaster, one always inherits the whole thing[3], even if one does not get the keys to the building. Therefore, we need to be specific about the whole lot of ideas[4], without authoritatively putting them in any retrospective order that gives the false impression of a linear continuity. 

What is without a doubt, however, is that this “Letter from the Editors” is the place to express wholehearted gratitude to the artists and writers who worked on making the Palais des Beaux Arts Wien a real thing over the past four years, and just as much, to those whose contributions expanded the scope of this volume – each part of a magic circle beneath the institutional surface, an experiment in institutional forms and collaborative practices located at an unmarked street corner in Wien. 

I would also like to thank my new colleagues at the CML at IXDM; Jamie, Lucie, Sonia and Gerald for the exciting work on our Institutions as a Way of Life project. Further, this issue would not have been possible without the sharp translation and editing by Nadežda Kinsky Müngersdorff. I am also thankful for the resonances initiated by the organisers and participants of the Vessel International Curatorial Workshop in Bari last summer, and Sarrita Hunn of Temporary Art Review for the many generous conversations in the months following. Within their thematic focus on Instituent Practices, Temporary has published an interview with Seth Weiner and myself on occupation and transition. Gratitudes also to Florian Rötzer for his help in getting permission to translate the excerpt from Armin Medosch’s “Freie Netze.” After Armin passed away in 2017, the response by the communities he touched through his activity as artist, writer and fellow human introduced the editors to this earlier work of his. By translating this short excerpt, we hope to pass some of his great spirit onward. continent. Finally, I would like to thank co-Editor Maximilian Thoman for joining me on the long path that was editing this issue. 

— Bernhard Garnicnig



Letter from the Editors: Édition Spéciale, Album Blouses Nouvelles 33 "Chic Parisien", 9ème Année Publication trimestrielle, London, Paris, Wien: A. Bachwitz (1923)

The exhibition space as a laboratory: Excerpts from Enrico Zago – Totem (2015)

free wifi here: Google Image Search “free wifi coffee”

Going Wireless in the Belle Epoque: Telephone lines, New York, ca.1888 on iPad Mockup

Big Time Museum: Excerpt from Terrestrum`Navis&~ff$  (2016)

Artist Chat: Rosemary Lee Studio Screenshot 

G is for Geography: Google Street View Look Inside Screenshot 

The Occupation of Institutionality and Institutional Liberation: Installation shot from The Natural History Museum, Our Climate, Whose Politics?

Art on the Moon: Still from Internet Moon Gallery History

Radio Visions: Ivan Narodny Marconi's plans for the world (1912)

The Palais around the corner from Musil and Wittgenstein: Delanglard's Georama (Litographic print around 1847 - C.W. Medau, Prag) 

Vaporous Evening Dresses: Seth Weiner – Vaporous Evening Dresses


[1] The introduction is inspired by Maurice Steins’ introduction to the 1970s Blueprint for Counter Education. book. Maurice Stein et al., eds., Blueprint for Counter Education: Curriculum, Handbook, Wall Decoration, Shooting Script. ... Instruction Manual (New York: Inventory Press, 2016). 

[2] Weiner, Seth, and Garnicnig, Bernhard. Palais des Beaux Arts Wien: Legacy and Latency. Interview by Sarrita Hunn. Temporary Art Review, March 21, 2018.

[3] Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival. Documentary, 2016.

[4] ibid.