About the project
Due to a ministerial order from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior, which went into effect in early October 2002, the situation of those seeking political asylum in Austria has become dramatically worse. Refugees from certain countries are no longer eligible for federal care, which means no lodgings, no food and no medical care while simultaneously being prohibited from working. The asylum law that will go into effect in Austria in May 2004 exacerbates the situation even more with regulations in violation of human rights, such as the possibility of deporting refugees during an ongoing appeal.
Instances of homeless asylum seekers, minors in detention, pregnant women deported during the night, and assault by state authorities are increasing. Marcus O. suffocated in the course of deportation, Cheibani W. died as a result of abuse as he was arrested, Imre B. was shot in the course of a search, ....
The agency "no_milk///no_honey" was founded by Social Impact on October 21, 2003 in Graz to call attention to these circumstances with unconventional methods. The agency currently consists of twenty-two volunteer members from the most diverse areas of society. The activities center around an information campaign purporting to support the Ministry of the Interior, addressing Austrians and tourists to spread the word.
Austrians going abroad are requested to distribute the information material in their holiday locations; foreign guests in Austria are asked to take the information material back to their home countries. This is an attempt to provide a larger target group with information than would be possible with conventional campaigns. Because of the seeming correlation between presentation and content, the indifference of the content first becomes apparent at a closer examination, challenging one to take a personal position.
The first edition of 4,000 folders was consequently distributed in places like the Graz airport, the main train station of Graz and tourist magnets like the Kunsthaus or Mur Island. All the recipients of the brochure are forced to take a position, either by passing on the image of Austria drawn in the brochure or by letting it disappear and thus helping to cover up the assaults described. Regardless of which action they take, taking a position is unavoidable.
Particularly in the context of the Cultural Capital Graz with its striving for self-presentation and identity production, the work of the agency "no_milk///no_honey" takes on a special significance and explosiveness.
As a further building block of the project, there are plans to produce articles of use for tourists, such as beach towels, beach apparel, air mattresses, etc. These will also be imprinted with information about the situation in Austria and should be available for purchase in spring 2004.