In 2016, Austria celebrated 50 years since the signing of the contract with the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia establishing a basis for legal and voluntary migration to provide necessary labor for the growing Austrian economy. The invitation to stay and work on a temporary basis created the guestworker phenomenon – Gastarbeiter in German. However, due to political and economic changes in the host and in the home countries, guestworkers stayed longer than initially envisaged.
Article 9, paragraph 2 of this historically significant contract specifically endorsed the promotion of this mobile workforce's own cultural and social life, and has led to the establishment of well over 100 workers social clubs. In the exhibition: "AJNHAJTCLUB" (pronounced EINHEIT CLUB – Oneness or Unity Club; JEDINSTVO KLUB), artist-curator Bogomir Doringer plays with the concept of these clubs while exploring the history of this community as reflected in them. A knowledge of German was not initially required for "new workers," so having fulfilled their work obligations, in their leisure time most had to rely on the micro-structures of these social clubs. These were regarded as spaces for maintaining and bolstering cultural identity, providing a sense of participation and celebrating nostalgia towards the home country. They were treated as instruments of “social design” for the maintenance of a specific collective body, the guestworkers. The culture promoted by these clubs has become a local subculture.
To mark this community's fiftieth jubilee in Austria, and as a gesture of gratitude to these men and women from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia, the AJNHAJTCLUB opens. This "club" aims to unite these migrants' past and present narratives using contemporary artistic practice and research, providing a look back to inform the future. It also aims to gather people from different target groups in collective participation and celebration at the opening and throughout the duration of the exhibition.
In some European countries this phenomenon and guestworkers' contributions to society are now more forgotten than in the others. In Austria this community is still alive today, deeply embedded in daily life and not historically resolved. The term guestworker is a blanket one, confusing those who came under the contract signed in the 1960’s with all subsequent generations of migrants. Their contributions evidently helped the development of the Austrian economy and culture, and subsequent generations of migrants are naturalized Austrian today.
7.2 PARTICIPATING ARTISTS LIST
ATK!* , Evelyn Benčičová & Adam Csoka Keller, Ljubomir Bratić, Juan Pablo Cámara* & Michele Rizzo*, Leyla Cárdenas* , Olga Dimitrijević*, Mladen Đorđević*, HOR 29. Novembar & Turbo Tanja, Nikola Knežević*, Marko Lulić , Claudia Maté*, Milan Mijalkovic, Miroslav Mikuljan, Vladimir Miladinović*, Goran Novaković, Josip Novosel* , Bernd Oppl, Krsto Papić, Antonis Pittas*, Marta Popivoda*, Roberto Uribe-Castro*, Addie Wagenknecht
7.3 EXHIBITION DOCUMENTATION
The exhibition project AJNHAJTCLUB is organized in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA), and the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF).
Martin Hickmann, department for stage and costume design, film and exhibition architecture at the Universität Mozarteum Salzburg