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Wolfgang Sterneck

THE PROJECT KOMISTA - CULTURE AND CHANGE

Sing the songs, they don't expect you to sing.
Be uncomfortable, be sand not oil in the engine of the world...”


These words by Günter Eich are programmatic for the KomistA project, which was founded by Claus and Wolfgang Sterneck in 1986. Still today the records and books released by KomistA are focused on countless variations of ”Culture and Change”.

In the beginning the activities concentrated on organizing events and releasing records that included documentation of political activities, various cultural experiments, and different styles of music. The main aims were to develop cultural free-spaces and spread alternative content and ideals that did not have a place in the established media.

Basically it all started when 13-year old Claus Sterneck was bored of pop-music and created the strange ”Dröhn-Tape” with ”short and bad music”. Later there was the idea to release a tape made up of music, poems and experimental stuff by KomistA-members and some friends. From today’s perspective it seems that this was an easy step, but in fact it was relatively hard because up to that time, most of us had experienced music only in a passive way. Music records and concerts were considered as things that are offered and can only be consumed; something in which we could not take an active and creative role. Through this KomistA was founded and continued to publish various tape-projects and later LPs and CDs. As well KomistA released experimental sound-recordings and documentation of speeches. The records were distributed for the lowest possible price on a nonprofit basis. One of the basic ideas was to overcome passive consumer attitudes and to revive blocked creativity. We recognized that, in a minor way, it is possible to defy the ruling manipulation of commercial culture.

Meanwhile, another focal point was publishing activities. The books situated themselves within cultural streams related to social developments. One main topic continues to be music in its rebelliousnous, but also in its manipulating appearences. The book and record project ”Silence, Consciousness and Change” was realized in cooperation with the avant-guard composer John Cage (1912-92) in benefit to a squated house in Hanau. The project is likewise a political statement and a request to question and change the present ways of hearing. The book ”The Fight for the Dreams” and ”Dancing Stars” by Wolfgang Sterneck covers the relationships between ”music, society and change” and discusses musical streams like Punk, Techno, Avantguarde, Womyn’s Music and Revolutionary Songs. The concept of ”Cybertribe-Visions” is based on the idea of an imaginary modern tribe, which connects the wisdom of old cultures and the understanding of today’s developments with the spirit of a liberating revolt. The book featured contributions by Hakim Bey, W.S. Burroughs, Albert Hofmann, Spiral Tribe and others. Two other books, ”Psychedelica” and ”Erotica - Drugs and Sex”, describe the variety of psychedelic substances and their visionary, as well as dangerous aspects, through scientific analyses, personal reports, and psychedelic inspired art. Most of the books are released in cooperation with Nachtschatten Verlag (Switzerland).

Still today, a main goal of KomistA is to support and spread alternative content and idealistic modes of expression. In doing this, it is important for us to collaborate with people who try, in a liberating sense, to break through the walls that limit us and create in a self-determined manner. In this respect our publications are not confined to a specific style. Based on these points of view, KomistA is also involved in the creation of the Archive Sterneck.net, which contains in its articles the possibilities of personal development, several forms of expression on the resistance against repressive structures, and the variety of the paths to a concrete Utopia. It intends to create, thereby, no unified position, but rather to document positions and perspectives, as well as to energize discussion and encourage realizations of vision.

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KomistA : www.sterneck.net/komista

(2005).