Weather reports from the regions – the whole project

WIND, SUN, SNOW, CLOUDS and RAIN – mixed weather awaits us!

Weather leaves no one cold. Weather can be felt. In the collaboration of participants of pro mente OÖ from all regions of Upper Austria with the KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd we went in search of images that represent oneself in the context of the weather.

The participants from the regions as well as the KunstRaum look forward to seeing you on 28 June 2018, 18.00 clock in the showroom of the KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd, Linz! The exhibition will then travel to the regions….

The entire project _ information, comments and experiences from the project series “Weather reports from the regions”.

Pro mente Upper Austria offers leisure and communication services and day centers to people with psychosocial support needs in the six regions of Upper Austria – Innviertel, Mühlviertel, Pyhrn – Eisenwurzen, Traunviertel – Salzkammergut, Linz and Wels.

Participants from Braunau, Ried, Schärding, Freistadt, Rohrbach and Perg, Steyr, Steyr-Land and Kirchdorf an der Krems, Gmunden and Vöcklabruck, Linz-Stadt and Linz-Land , Grieskirchen and Wels were invited as individuals and in groups to create “weather reports from the respective regions”.

One location per region was chosen as a meeting point for all participants from the different districts of the region. The joint, cross-site and cross-region collaboration was highlighted by some participants as special and positive.

The initially more than 80 participants from the six regions were asked, accompanied and guided to create their own image of the weather and to express this through drawings, staging, photography and weather diaries.

Artistic-creative methods, as they are often used in projects in the KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd, form the tool to deal with themselves, with the region, a concrete topic and with contemporary art to discover moods that can be shown through the weather for themselves.

For many of the participants it was something unknown, unusual and new. A first step of collaboration has been set, with ups and downs, with moments of overload and visibility of resource scarcity of time, to be continued. We all know:  Cooperation is a long way. And: We can do something – together. The annual theme of KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd 2018 lives.

“Since we drew and painted clouds, my gaze is directed much more often to the sky. I am fascinated and excited about the variety of cloud shapes and have the desire to lie on my back in the meadow again, as I did as a child, and watch the moving clouds and dream.” (Helga)

Drawing. In order to rediscover and try out the lightness and joy of colored pencils on paper, the participants were invited to collect terms about the weather, weather conditions and properties of the weather in writing. From the abundance of words, fifteen terms as different as possible were chosen to draw.

Have they ever drawn a wall of fog, black ice, high water, dog days, snowflakes, dark clouds or sunny, frosty, sleet, windy ,….in 15 seconds on paper?

 “I enjoyed the drawing. I didn’t even know I could do that. We then put all the quick drawings up on the walls and looked at them all. No one can draw beautifully in such a short time, but that wasn’t the point. I kept my drawing of the waterfall, because I didn’t want it to be shown. (Participant from Linz-Land)

The weather doesn’t leave anyone cold. Most people can say something about the weather. Weather can be felt. It’s too cold, too hot, too dry, too wet. People change their plans because of the weather, they stay at home, go to the lake….. Quite a few people think about what effects the weather has on the environment: “How good it is that it’s raining, nature is happy and I don’t have to spray the garden” or even “Hopefully it will stop raining soon, otherwise there will be another flood like five years ago”,…. or, or, or…. One story or another was told, and the floods, like the lakes, provided insights into how participants relate to the weather in their regions.

And yet, how the weather develops and also how it develops is a mystery, almost a secret. We are surprised, sometimes deceived, and help ourselves with weather forecasts, and sometimes we unpack evocative phrases from childhood days, singing aloud, repeating them over and over again: “Rain, Rain go away come again some other day,….”.

One afternoon in each of the six regions in this workshop series was spent going out. Photographs were taken at locations selected by local colleagues, participants and the KunstRaum team. In preparation for this, an appointment was made that was possible at each of the locations. A week before, a look at the weather app, at the first weather forecast: Breathe deeply, the weather is good. Two days before: it could be raining. One day before: uncertainty, will it stay dry and if so, is it too cold? Before leaving Linz, another phone call with a colleague on site, a reality check. Not only once did an appointment in the region have to be canceled because, among many beautiful days, exactly the planned day of action was rained out. Taking pictures in the rain is not necessarily advantageous for the result. And: What we did not want was, since all participants were outdoors for several hours for this, to challenge sniffles/colds and mood lows.

 “Particularly intrepid and committed were the participants from Steyr, at a photo shoot where there was still snow. These photo shoots took place in sub-zero temperatures and in visibly good spirits. It has been shown, as soon as the participants have come into the doing, where he / she is with interest and joy, the strict conditions, was the weather, forgotten.  This common afternoon remains not only me but certainly all participants in memory. I am pleased that with it also the winter about the photographs, which originated in the snow, in the series at “weather reports from the regions” to see is.  ” (Beate Rathmayr, KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd)

Being photographed directs a special attention to the person being photographed. Many of the participants shied away from this task. Most of those who took advantage of this offer concluded by joyfully describing the special moment of staging themselves. The conditions for these moments are central and are created in the KunstRaum work with attention and mindfulness. Getting involved with the unknown, the unfamiliar can be supported by a common attitude that combines security and development, especially by the colleagues on site.  With a “dry run” , appropriate clothing and the props strengthened and accompanied by the workshop leader Beate Rathmayr, the photographer Reinhard Winkler Willi Sommerauer and the group of participants, more than 40 participants got involved in the situation and the composition of the image.

The assignment for the participants was to recreate a mood of the weather, a contemplation on the weather. For this purpose, photographs of artistic works on the subject of weather were made available. The individuals chose the image that seemed most feasible and emotionally closest to them as appealing. Putting oneself in the picture and finding one’s place in it, depicting it and engaging with it can result in a playful moment paired with excitement and provides space for one’s own interpretations.  For this purpose, artistic works from art history such as Van Gogh, Caspar David Friedrich, as well as contemporary works by Olafur Eliason, Julita Wojcik, … were offered.

The paintings were staged in places in the regions, which also meant to find such in the respective regions, to find the picture. Roaming around together (with the buses), searching and finding the appropriate “backgrounds” challenged the perception for remembered and real places. Memories can also be deceiving. The bus had enough gas in the tank to search and try the next place.


“I chose a picture by Andrei Tarkovsky. For me, it shows a woman, dressed as if from the 19th century, looking into the distance. She is sitting on a wooden fence. Two problems arose during the realization. There are no more pastures with wooden fences, they all have electric fences by now. But we solved that. But the view into the distance. It was almost impossible to find it. I first noticed how densely built up everything is with houses, loud single-family houses. “(Elisabeth )

The moods of the individuals and the specifications of the pictures, the places and persons were brought together in a picture, in the respective picture, which was formed by the individuals according to their conceptions and also due to partly physical restrictions.

“I have chosen the picture with the sun because I have just really a hard time behind me and I need a lot of sun”. (participant from Gmunden)

 People like to sing about the weather in hit songs, pop and rock songs, and emotions are aroused. From a “jukebox” full of weather songs, the participants in a workshop unit were asked to choose a song from it and to interpret this song in a small group. With body, voice, props, drawings… after 6 regional workshops, “Good morning, good morning, good morning sunshine…” is found on top 1, closely followed by “Show me the place in the sun”, on top 3 is “Above the clouds, freedom must be boundless”.

“I liked the music best, because we did something together in a group to “Candle in the Wind”, and I thought of a friend and everyone in the family who had died. It was a bit sad, but it was nice how we remembered, a very good and nice mood.” (Participant from Steyr)

 Weather reports from the regions is a project that goes beyond the individual regions, it connects all pro mente OÖ regions. These are made visible in an exhibition with selected results – photos and texts – and made accessible to the public.

Why about the weather/weather reports? What remains of the collaboration for the participants, the work of the colleagues in the field – what did we want to initiate and do we see ourselves?

 Working on the topic of weather was chosen because,

…because everybody knows it and can talk about it

…because weather can combine moods _ real and atmospheric, and art.

…because one can try to describe the region as well.

What is weather for me? How does it feel? What does it look like?

Where in my region have I experienced it? Where do I find my weather mood?

Weather allows one to perceive the all around. Weather is changeable and unstable. In the search for one’s own weather, one needs one’s own, the other, the juxtaposition. You simply feel the weather.

By getting involved in the project, we got involved in contemporary art.

Even if the expectations of what contemporary art is were sometimes different. It went beyond drawing, it was about relating oneself to something new, expressing oneself and creating new images of oneself and an image of one’s own region.

“Participation is more than taking part in the final conceived work of art. It is being invited to participate in the production process: Working with KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd means engaging in a collaborative process in which ideas, conceptions, and ways of working do not simply meet in the middle, but rub up against each other, challenge each other, and then come together to form a unique whole. These are collaboratively achieved results in which fellow artists and participants find themselves in different positions. Likewise, projects grow in the collaborative elaboration and form the seed for further possibilities of realization”(Claudia Schnugg)

Through the assignments, which were the same for all participants, common guidelines were given, whether through concepts, music, photographs of artistic works. The body was used as well as the imagination, the own history, emotions and language and common stories were created. From the new experiences strength can be drawn to have mastered these tasks here partly over own borders to have gone and to be proud of it. In addition, new “tools” were handed out and put to use, which can be used again at any time.

Through the use of artistic methods and by getting involved in what was initially unspecific, it was experienced to express oneself with an expanded repertoire, with artistic methods, a trying out, experimenting, which needs time for the emergence of something new. Curiosity is helpful here, improvisation is always called for, factors that can also facilitate people’s everyday coping.

The confrontation as an individual, in a group, with new people, in well and less known places and spaces challenges the perception and increases the sensitivity to the environment, whether people or the environment and has opened up spaces of longing. Working outdoors together, going out into something unknown, was an important step in building a relationship, including with the weather. The common experiences create memories that can be shared

Each region has its specifics. The moods in each region, like the specifics of the place, are different. It is about the people who can perceive their region and places from a new perspective.

For the leisure and communication area of pro mente Upper Austria, for the locations in the regions and the KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd, the start for further joint activities has been laid through this project cooperation across regions. In part, energy and perseverance had to be expended both at the locations and on the part of KunstRaum in order to motivate participants, coordinate and bring them into action. The resource-scarce times show how essential it is to offer projects that work together on an attitude and ideas within one’s own organization and to offer the existing expertise and competencies for use by many.

“The mission of KunstRaum Goethestrasse xtd is to work at the intersection of art and social issues, and so the individual and social effects of art are upheld. The projects have an impact on individual participants through collective action and engagement, help in teams and have an impact on organizations, but reach out into society with their artistic results. “We” is an attitude and a goal, a practice and an outcome. It responds to current concerns to lay a foundation for change in the future.” (Claudia Schnugg)

From the fall of 2018, the photographs, drawings,…which were created in this project series, will be on display in the regions, if desired. Before that, however, the overall exhibition will open with June 2018 in the KunstRaum. The results stand for themselves are also like certificates that the participants receive.