M Grootveld on Fri, 28 Sep 2001 04:04:39 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Franz Feigl is dead

Last Monday night Franz F. Feigl died in the Lucas-hospital in Amsterdam,
The Netherlands. Franz was an artist and an organiser, and as such a
legendary figure in the cultural underground of Amsterdam in the 80's and
90's. I got to know him in 1983, after he and Ine Poppe had just initiated
the NL-Centrum, a cultural refuge in the former sleep-in at the Rozengracht.
We organised concerts there of, among others, SPK, Laibach and Einstürzende
Neubauten, and various exhibitions and manifestations.
In the same years Franz and Erik Hobijn created Wackenhut, a cultural
guerrilla-unit which was loosely inspired upon the concept of a team of
security-guards, surfacing randomly at places where the official artworld
would manifest itself.
Franz was also involved in the activities of Radio Rabotnik TV, a dissident
of the airwaves and cablechannels, which produced radio- and
televisionprogrammes in Amsterdam and which functioned later on as a
performance- and theatergroup as well. I remember a trip with a ramshackle
Mercedes that Franz and I made in the winter of 1986 to Austria and
Slovenia. Among other things we wanted to investigate if there was a secret
movement in Austria that aimed at a revival of the Habsburg empire. The trip
resulted in a video entitled "A.E.I.O.U.", in which the impression was
created that such an operation was imminent. We suggested that it was
actually directed by the Actionists, a group of Austrian artists from the
late 60's, some of which had been training artguerrilla's in special camps
in the Austrian Alps in the 70's. (If the Americans would have known...)
At the end of the 80's and in the early 90's Franz set out to organise
projects on a bigger scale. Wellknown projects from this era are the
performances by Survival Research Laboratories and Von Magnet in Amsterdam.
Franz also occupied ('annexed', as he would call it) the fortified island of
Pampus, near the port of Amsterdam, with a group of artists. In 1990 he and
Geert Lovink organised the Wetware Convention in Amsterdam, which connected
the cultures of the old and new media for the first time. Because of the
inexperience with this kind of complex events, the Wetware Convention ended
in a merry chaos and a spontaneous houseparty, with (what was still very new
at the time) a couple of VJ's who happily seized the available video- and
In the second half of the nineties Franz was increasingly fascinated by the
possibilities of the new media. Together with, among others, Erik Hobijn and
Dick Verdult he formed the Netband. One of their projects was the hatching
of an egg on the net. A special cage was built, which enabled the
internetcommunity to adjust the temperature, to feed the chicken and to
clean the cage. The chicken would die if nobody would take care of it.
All of these years Franz remained an enigmatic, solitary figure, with a
peculiar but very funny sense of humour and a slight proclivity towards
selfcastigation. I will miss him.

Menno Grootveld, Amsterdam

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime@bbs.thing.net