Why must Beuys' chair of fat be art? Why the polyester figures from Duane Hanson, which more than one hundred years after Madame Taussaud started making wax figures are also nothing more than hyperrealistic renderings of people. Why must a black square be art if it could just as well have been painted by a house painter as a color sample? Or why a childhood drawing from Paul Klee, which doesn't look any different than many other children's drawings outside of art. Of course: A sociopolitical process can also have nothing to do with art. All around the world at all times, projects and initiatives are successfully completed without even the slightest consideration of art. People have always been coming up with new solutions, also when it was simply a matter of helping others without any mention at all in the newspaper's art and culture section. The shelter director Gregor Hilvary, for example, thought out an ingenious system of rotating sleeping places in order to offer more refugees beds than the law allowed, thus protecting them from deportation. He didn't receive any art professorship for his achievement. His efforts could not even be mentioned publicly because that would have endangered the execution of his plans. Why art, then?

First, with every successful project that is recognized as art, intervention in existing social circumstances wins increased significance. The word "social" is then used more positively again. Just as certain "revolting" materials can suddenly be made more appealing through art, social activism can also decrease the nimbus of pathos and presumptuous "do-gooder syndrome" that often surrounds social efforts by revaluating them in the context of art?

Second, the mythos "art" is of assistance when one is interested in helping realize an intention - in the political field, for example. In 1989 the artist Patricia L.A. Paris designed a light installation. A long, poorly lit underground passage in Whitechapel, meeting point for all the muggers and cutthroats in London, was to be lit up with four floodlights, brighter than the light of day. The artist actually won a competition with her design, but unfortunately was never able to execute her installation. Shortly before the planned setup, lighting was installed in the passageway by the community itself, which also took the opportunity to clean up the trash and pigeon corpses. Paris was infuriated. The planned floodlights had lost their purpose, and so she withdrew the project. And yet it had been her idea to improve the passageway's lighting. Her intention was realized and had the desired success, even though she had contributed nothing more than her "planned" artwork. With the help of her art, the authorities had been compelled to take action. As an average citizen she might also have achieved that, only she would have had to place an official request for better lighting, like eighty others before her. With forms, waiting lists and fees. Months later she would have received a letter in which it would be called to her attention that at the moment circumstances make it impossible to...

Third, the media reports less about the most exciting social work than about the dullest cultural events. Thus WochenKlausur uses the media in any way it can. Through newspaper articles and radio and television coverage, pressure can be put on decision makers. For instance, it helped WochenKlausur that the culture moderator of a Viennese radio program called up a city councilor live on the air and asked her why the doctor for a project to provide medical care to the homeless was not being subsidized, when such a measure must be fully in the spirit of a community governed by the Social Democrats, and moreover when the artists had already taken care of all the arrangements.

Fourth, experience from the completed projects shows that in many fields an unorthodox approach opens doors and offers usable solutions that would not have been recognized in conventional modes of thinking, such as those of science, social work or ecology. When in a project to improve the sense of well-being in a Viennese secondary school classroom WochenKlausur simply ignored the Austrian standards for school construction, because they were completely inappropriate in meeting the pupils needs, then this is an approach that had never been tried by the experts, architects and interior designers. In order to avoid potential difficulties in their professions, experts must stick to the existing guidelines, even when they are clearly preposterous.

Community facilities and social institutions are sometimes overloaded. A backlog of items then remain unprocessed. Even if solutions are near at hand, many problems also remain unsolved because the departments responsible are unwilling to cooperate, because of partisan agendas or because conflicts over jurisdiction, strategic considerations, or hierarchical structures are in the way. Often deficiencies can only be recognized from an external perspective. Through certain freedoms that art has been granted, an area is opening for art where the deficiencies of codified politics can be pointed out and their resolutions can be paradigmatically demonstrated. Art's opportunity to approach a problem unconventionally, naively and open-mindedly is in principle an opportunity open to anyone who approaches a problem from outside.

When too many people tinker around too long on a project, average difficulties often become irresolvable deadlocks. Example: After the City of Vienna informed WochenKlausur of the difficulties involved in finding a doctor who would be willing to work in a situation envisioned by the group's project to provide medical care to the homeless, and after the city administration reported that years of effort in this direction had proven fruitless, the obstacle seemed insurmountable to the group. How should the artists find such a doctor when the community had already been searching for years without success? The group tried it nonetheless and for a start put advertisements in the relevant medical journals. It worked! Thirty serious applicants responded within a few days. Despite extensive efforts on the part of the responsible officials, no one had thought to put a simple notice in a professional journal.

This is central to the psychology of the artist and to the abilities that differentiate him or her from others. At first artists do not differentiate themselves from others at all. But then at some point they do, at least in the decision to be an artist. Occasionally more basal causes are at the root of this decision. If one asks - not very psychoanalytically - what they are, then the answer is a rich and unusable palette. That artists' sensibilities lead them to notice where trends are heading before others do, that they have the ability to draw attention to problems that are not seen by others, that they make finer distinctions in certain areas, originate issues that attract attention and the like.

None of that can be proven. Still, the word art draws in unconventional minds and nonconformist potential like a magnet. It attracts people who do not want to integrate themselves in a regulated work process, in a preprogrammed career with retirement thinking and safety nets. The conception and execution of sociopolitical programs does not unconditionally need art. There are, after all, also trained specialist who make similar efforts. Still, why does no one think rebuke the publishers of newspapers and tell them that they should leave politics up to the politicians?

In fact there is no reason why artists should have better ideas and problem-solving strategies. On the other hand, there also aren't many reasons why such interventions shouldn't be carried out by artists - as well as by all other people - if they are efficient. Taking responsibility outside of the framework of official directives and organizational structures can become a matter of duty when extremely obvious deficiencies, whose resolution does not require years of training or special experience, are awaiting action. When these activities are carried out by artists at the invitation of art institutions and are recognized by a community as art, then they are art.