Identitätsbilder in österreichischen Landesausstellungen
Zielsetzungen und Geschichte der Landesausstellungen
Provincial consciousness (Landesbewusstsein) plays an important role in Austria due to the federalist nature of its constitutional development. The regional sphere constitutes a distinctive part of the nation-building process in Austria, and represents a consciously cultivated form of identity. Since the 1960s, provincial exhibitions (Landesausstellungen) have tried to create or strengthen collective identities of this kind. The article analyses the most significant forms of self-representation to be found in these exhibitions, as evidenced in the choice of exhibition themes and the introductions by politicians, regional officials and academics to the exhibition catalogues. Specific attention is paid to: the appropriation of rulers, saints, artists and the like as symbolic figures; the ideological instrumentalisation of the historical role played by individual provinces; the stress on economic success and 'standing the test of time'; the depiction of the particular region as an area with a great cultural heritage, based on Christian traditions. 'Remembering history' connects past, present and future and thus creates new myths and forms of collective identification.