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When Immigrants Were Welcome

When Immigrants Were Welcome

Since anyone can remember, residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo have been feeding the pigeons that swarmed the city’s central market Bascarsija. It didn’t matter to the hungry birds whose hands – Muslim, Croat, Serb, Roma or Jewish – dispensed the corn and bread in this multi-ethnic city. What mattered were the crumbs, and […]

Craftsmanship and Culture: Loos, Wittgenstein and Schönberg

Craftsmanship and Culture: Loos, Wittgenstein and Schönberg

The Looshaus in Vienna’s 1st District is the setting for a monthly series of talks and music entitled Dem Ton ein Wort, (A Word on Sound) addressing the word and ideas of the leading “craftsmen of modernism” Alfred Loos, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Arnold Schönberg, and including chamber music performed by some of Vienna’s musicians adds […]

Saskia Sassen at Schloss Dürnstein

Saskia Sassen at Schloss Dürnstein

Schloss Dürnstein, set high above the Danube on one of the most beautiful sections of the Wachau valley, seems like an ironically idyllic place to discuss the overthrow of the global political system. Well, not “overthrow” exactly:  Dutch-American sociologist Saskia Sassen has decided that it’s time to re-examine how the world’s people see their roles […]

Freud and Almodovar at the French Institute

Freud and Almodovar at the French Institute

The French often talk about thought as if it were a contagious disease – like my one-time literature professor, who would say, “Il y a des idées dans l’air!” There are ideas in the air! And so it seemed at the conference “Art and the Body – How Hysteria is Viewed in the 21st Century” […]

Generation Everywhere

Generation Everywhere

“It’s just a culture thing” is a common maxim for explaining why things simply don’t translate. As educated global citizens, we generally brush off cultural misunderstandings when we work with people of other nationalities. However, for researchers like Michael Gates, culture is quantifiable, and can be analysed to improve communication and co-operation. The International Christian […]

This Falsely Transparent World

This Falsely Transparent World

It was one of those nights you couldn’t miss – and not only because of the lavish drink supply. While future.talk2012 – an Austria Telekom-backed event aimed at highlighting the Internet’s increasing presence in everyday life – may at times have felt more like a CEO meet and greet than a serious discussion, with quite […]

Buddhism meets Science

Buddhism meets Science

Scientists and clerics seldom work together, and often freeze in gridlocked opposition. Not so when Tendzin Gyatsho, the 14th Dalai Lama, came to Vienna in late May to meet distinguished professors from several scientific branches. In a remarkable seven-hour discussion at the Audimax of the University of Vienna, His Holiness took on the vast subject […]

Fight for the Right… to Green

Fight for the Right… to Green

Many modern cities can seem like a mass of concrete buildings, neon signs, and pollution. In fortunate cities like Vienna, a combination of culture, tradition and attentive government has drawn a greener picture, with boulevards of shady trees and communal parks. Yet, in some less-fortunate cities, citizens have had to reclaim their “right to green” […]

Vienna’s Science Slam: Rapping for Research

Vienna’s Science Slam: Rapping for Research

Few people would stand up in public and admit that they can’t read and write. Yet to be scientifically illiterate?  Strangely, that’s entirely socially acceptable. There are mitigating factors. Science at school is widely perceived to be difficult or boring, so people keep their distance. Which is fine with the scientists, who have often been […]

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