Weekly Conversations... with Alexander Fleischmann

© Katja Stecher

Alexander Fleischmann, researcher at the Institute for Gender and Diversity in Organizations, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, was calling for a project partner based in Helsinki, who shares his interest in alternative forms of organizing and diversity/anti-discrimination. Andrew Paterson, cultural producer and independent researcher, responded to his call. Together, they worked on emancipatory strategies and practices, in order to challenge capitalist markets. At the end of each residency the outcome of this collaboration was presented in the respective city.

The project Call and Response // Dialogue and Exchange started it’s first round with Alexander Fleischmann and Andrew Gryf Paterson. As the two of you did not know each other before, what were your expectations and concerns regarding this “blind date”?

Having read Andrew’s CV I expected that we share a common interest, but would probably have quite different approaches to it. So I hoped for a de-centring, questioning and re-centring of my approaches. But I was not only concerned with my own expectations, also with the ones of my collaborator and the institutions involved. Those possible expectations were also my biggest concerns. Looking back, I think we found a sound balance between pursuing our individual work, exchanging ideas and references, as well as creating possibilities to involve the public.

What do you take with you from the residency?

…an extended reading list, new thoughts, new approaches and new acquaintances.

What are your expectations for the second part of the project in Vienna?

The time in Helsinki revealed for me the ambiguous site-specifity of the project. On the one hand, interested in participatory forms of work and, hence, it is interested in practices and collaboration. This would mean getting to know local initiatives and the people involved, which can be quite time consuming – also in light of the given time frame. On the other hand, the collaboration between Andrew and me has a strong theoretical emphasis, discussing the different approaches of our current work. I do not think that there is a perfect balance between the two, but hopefully we will continue to engage in meaningful matters also in Vienna.


Interviewer for studio das weisse haus: Katja Stecher