At this conference, < rotor > is represented by Margarethe Makovec, Artistic Director.
visual arts center
nonprofit association / NGO, established in 1999 by Margarethe Makovec & Anton Lederer
< rotor > is an association for contemporary art based in Graz, Austria, and was founded in 1999. Contemporary visual art is always the starting point of its programs, with an emphasis on artistic production that explicitly deals with the social, political, economical, and ecological issues of our time.
A strong focus on cooperation has always been an essential element of the < rotor > philosophy, as has acting in networks.
Moreover, public space is a highly significant site for < rotor >, where it can leave behind the confines of the art space and actively engage people with art and extend its audience.
Since the mid-1990s, < rotor > has established a dense network of links to organizations and artists from many European countries – with a particularly strong connection to the Southeast European area.
Decision-making: The programming and institutional decision-making process of < rotor > is made by its founders in consultation with the managing committee and the advisory board.
Towards artists: Commissioning new artistic productions; sharing information about grants, residencies, calls; offering a residency program;
Towards other organizations: Sharing information, knowledge, and experience; being open to collaborations on local and international levels;
Towards citizens: Offering easy-to-access information; implementing educational programs; going beyond the gallery space and approaching people in public space.
Venue/s / resources: < rotor > has around 300 m2 (160 m2 exhibition space and coffee area, 140 m2 office space and archive) of space available. Right now, its team consists of 7 people.
Budget: more than €100,000 and less than €300,000.
Co-productions: < rotor > primarily understands co-production as an exchange of knowledge and experience. A favorite mode of collaboration is where all information is put on the table and partners can choose what is meaningful within their own institutional logic.
Hosting: From time to time < rotor > takes over exhibitions but in such cases we always try to adapt the item to local circumstances, for instance by involving local artists in the program. On a local basis, various organizations, groups, or artists approach < rotor > with program ideas and we then start a dialogue to see whether the idea fits into our general programmatics.
Services: We have a notice-board in the gallery providing various kinds of information for artists and curators; we organize monthly informal meetings among artists.
International collaboration: This is very important to us. < rotor > has been collaborating on an international level from its very beginning, in order to transfer artistic ideas and approaches in both directions – to Graz and also from it. International collaboration is based on the idea of exchange, though we try to ensure that all involved parties benefit from the collaboration.
Participation: Involving citizens in different ways is very important to us. Besides the educational programs we offer for many of our exhibitions, we also organize open workshops, which are quite often held in public space, making it even easier for many people to get involved. We also carry out participatory art projects in which we often address certain social groups or communities.
Gathering citizens: The starting point of our activities is always contemporary visual art. However, some programs may be understood in a broader sense of culture, for instance a series of workshops in which citizens offer certain skills.
Neighborhood: We are strongly connected with our immediate neighborhood. We have been working for many years with our immediate neighborhood, Annenviertel, the area of Graz which is mostly dominated by migration. We try to communicate with residents, people who work in the area, and those who use the public space in our neighborhood. The tools of this communication are art projects in public space, workshops, and participatory programs.
Municipality: This is a relaxed relationship. At the moment, < rotor > is well recognized in the city and seems to be understood as a relevant part of cultural life in town. But things can change, of course, depending on the political decision-makers in power.
Advocacy / activism: In 2007, when we started working on a long-term project about the situation of human rights in Europe seen from the perspective of visual arts, people started to ask for help and advice about specific human rights problems. Fortunately, we have good relationships with many NGOs in Graz, thus in most cases we are able to direct concerned people to the right places for professional help. Asylum and right-of-residence cases, in particular, have increased over the last couple of years.