There is a style in architecture called brutalism. This has less to do with the “brutal” look of concrete buildings than with the French term for raw concrete (“béton brut”). On the one hand, concrete architecture wanted to design buildings for a new society, on the other hand it was (and is) rejected by many as ugly. This mix of meanings makes brutalist architecture a good point of departure for thinking about what is considered “brutal” today.
We want to ask who calls whom “brutal” and from what point of view, as well as asking which associations lie in relation to it, and which animosities in current society the term implies. The brutality of sexist hate postings and right-wing agitation, for instance, is often considered an expression of stupidity and lack of education. “Brutal” is associated with the idea of crudeness and a lack of culture (of communication). But aren’t there also situations where the use of blunt language could be understood as a rebellion against what is suppressed and excluded in society? Is the concept of cultivation, the intention for the transformation of brutes into civilised humans, not characterized by a cruel history itself? How can we talk about brutality without reproducing a system based on the division between the good and the bad, the civilised and the primitive, between humans and others?
Workshop within the framework of the exhibition Béton in cooperation with WIENWOCHE 2016 „Forever Together“.
The workshop was developed by Carla Bobadilla, Beatrice Forchini, Andrea Hubin, Laura Schreiner and Katharina Stadlbauer.
Carla Bobadilla is a visual artist. Her main focus is on questions of post-colonialism and the mediation of artistic ideas.
Andrea Hubin is an educator in culture and works in the dramaturgy department of Kunsthalle Wien.
Beatrice Forchini, Laura Schreiner and Katharina Stadlbauer are members of the Denkfabrik the circle of young friends of Kunsthalle Wien.