In music, a break is the moment between two sounds. It gains its importance from what came before and after. In rhetoric it can increase the tension; it can be a full stop, a dash, or a question mark. Pupils in school feverishly await the break, and it’s often the same in the office. What else can a break do?
A musician appears on stage, bows, and sits down at the piano. He opens the music. And then ... he does nothing. In John Cage’s work 4’ 33”, the only instruc-tions to the musicians are not to play a single note for three movements. Although no music is heard, it is not quiet in the concert hall – you hear people in the audi-ence clearing their throats as they become uneasy. Chairs move, the air condi-tioning hums, muffled sounds from the street come into the hall. 4’ 33” is Cage’s invitation to listen into the silence, to recognise that it does not exist at all: silence is full of random sounds that we cannot turn off.
It seems in general that the traditional three career stages of education, work and retirement have been expanded since the turn of the millennium with a separate stage of ‘internship’. The phenomenon of the internship has since changed from a planned transitional aid and an interim stage to a genuine (career) stage. This stage can also last for significantly longer periods of time than some interns may prefer. The result: traditional milestones in life planning such as your own home, starting a family and having children are postponed more and more on account of the lack of financial security. Sometimes all that remains is the chronic frustration of moving from one temporary solution to the next without finding your permanent place.
This basic scenario has now made its way into everyday vocabulary as a familiar phrase with the so-called “internship generation”, suggesting that the phenomenon does not involve special individual cases but is becoming a real trend in the labour market. It is a trend that is arousing loud voices in the media who are calling for statutory regulation.
It is of course hard to find anything wrong with the idea of an internship. This practice, which goes back to the 17th century, is basically aimed at enabling individuals to gain in-depth knowledge and skills at an early stage. As such the internship is ideally a temporary link or a supplement to education, with the focus on gaining practical work experience. In this regard the internship acts as a useful aid for getting started and finding your way in the (often confusing) expanse of the working environment.
At the office, while the sun is shining? In a meeting, when you could have ice cream instead? For many of us, working during the summer months is more of an unfortunate duty than it is fun. But don’t be afraid, we have the solution: The Bene Heat Management helps you through this difficult time with a perfect recipe for every temperature. Enjoy!
Summer, Sun, and Idleness: summer is the best time for relaxation. This is why office work is especially hard to do in the warm months of the year. But wait: Music to the rescue!
Work and lifestyle at the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporaries we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time,we spoke with Marino Formenti on the phone. The pianist and conductor (born in 1965) lives in Vienna; he spoke to Désirée Schellerer and Angelika Molk about the importance of the pause in music, ceaseless toil and the carrot and the stick.
Marino Formenti is seen as one of the most interesting musical personalities of our time thanks to his unusual combination of intellect and emotionality. Praised by the Los Angeles Times as "Glenn Gould for the 21st Century", Formenti has made his name in contemporary music and with his quest to combine old and new. Formenti's preference for new, unexpected connections can be seen in the different projects which often experiment with the concert form (Missa, Piano Trips, Nothing is Real, The Party, Piano Integral, Kurtág’s Ghosts, Sieben Letzte Worte). He will shortly appear in the documentary "Schubert und ICH" (Schubert and I), in which Formenti will teach Schubert songs to five musical amateurs in a private setting.
Mr Formenti, the summer edition of our magazine has the theme of "pause". In music, the pause can sometimes have great importance; one only has to think of John Cage. What importance has the pause in your work?
A pause is probably the most important feature in music. Stillness is part of music, similar as it is in life: You need moments to revive yourself. This is, however, sometimes hard in today's world as it has become so much more hectic.
Has the life of the artist also become more hectic?
Even a classical artist is travelling more today as opposed to just two or three generations ago. You can only master this by using routine - but routine is totally uninteresting, it's a bit like playing the same piece over and over again. It is much nicer to look for new ways. This can be very tiring. I don't want to complain though as it is a wonderful life.
Rich beats, provoking RnB voices and elaborate electronics. Three times from Austria with Cid Rim, Wandl and Fontarrian, seven times from international waters. Well-established artists meet absolute newcomers. A temporary view, concentrating more on interaction than on generalisation. Still, the editorial staff is also into indie, techno, pop and rock. If you want to find out more about this panda-pandemonium, check out www.thegap.at.
A generalist and a specialist. God and Ted Mosby. Architects come in all shapes and sizes. What they actually have to be able to do has been discussed for thousands of years.
Based on things in our part of the world, that have been shaped by Christian faith – you only need to think of the way we calculate our calendars – the Creator could be called the first architect, having created the entire world in six days plus a day of rest according to the Bible. There is a reason why early depictions of the creation of the world often show Jesus Christ representing the Father and measuring the globe with a compass. God as the architect is an example which combines both the power of the idea as well as the capacity of design and execution in itself, thereby indicating an ideal which has occupied the discussion around architecture for thousands of years.
Ever since people have been able to document buildings there has been a discussion over what the architect’s responsibilities really are. The word architect, which comes from Ancient Greek and which thanks to Latin is still used to designate the profession today, provides merely inadequate or partial information on the meaning of the term as we now use it. For instance it can be translated as “Chief Craftsperson” – and some architects would indeed rightly consider this to be an inadequate description of their activity.
Just a general question: are you special? Is what you do special? You will probably be inclined to answer this question with a resounding Yes! Of course, because specialisation is all the rage. Any self-respecting person specialises in something – whether professionally, academically or in any other area.
At the start of our new Bene Office.Info series “Work in Progress”, which will be all about special job profiles, we will take a long and careful look at this...
Specialisation is an engine of civilisation which drives progress, and drives knowledge. Specialisation is one key, if not THE key, for managing both the floods of information which descend upon us daily along with the requirements of everyday life. Particularly in the 21st century, specialisation seems to be the absolute guarantee for success. Specialisation is … but let’s slow down a bit! We should take a closer look at this. After all, there is one thing we certainly don’t want to do as we look at what is special and at specialisation: to generalise!
When we talk about specialisation, we usually mean focusing on a particular specialist area, a topic or an activity. By definition therefore, specialisation represents a conscious restriction, where someone moves away from the higher-level context and dedicates their attention exclusively to a particular part of an item. In this sense the act of specialising is a conscious setting of limits, corresponding with movement from the general to the specialised.
Bene’s new trend report on office and working environments takes a close look at the significant developments and issues that influence the design of workspaces – now and for the future: from solution workers, the knowledge workers focussed on finding solutions, to cult offices and day-to-day learning.
New horizons are opening up in the working environment: in technology, in management, in infrastructure. More and more, creativity, interaction and communication are becoming the central issues for successfully dealing with work tasks. The key is to find the best solutions to these challenges. Companies remain successful when they know about the trends the next years will bring. The trend report “New Work Spaces II” provides them with a compass, helping to pinpoint new developments and environments that will shape the way people work in the future.
Work and lifestyle on the cutting edge. In discussions with contemporaries we review the assertions, clichés and ideals which circulate around work environments. This time we spoke with Susie Wolff, development driver for the Williams Martini Racing Team. She told us about her way to success, the role teamwork plays in the F1 and that daily dose of adrenalin on the track.
Born in Scotland, Susie Wolff discovered her love for motorsport at an early age. After 16 years of race experience, she had her debut in DTM, one of the most popular touring car championships in the world. After seven successful seasons for Mercedes Benz it was time for a new challenge: driving a F1 car. This dream came true in April 2012, when “the fastest woman in the world“ was appointed development driver for the Williams Martini Racing Team.
What is a typical work day like for Susie Wolff? Or is there no such thing?
Everyday is different for me depending on the time of year which I relish as I'm not someone who likes routine. At the start of the F1 season we are away for nearly 5 weeks as the first 4 races are fly away. During the middle of the season it gets easier as most races in Europe but then we finish again with fly away races. In the winter I am more focused on fitness training and my simulator work. During the season there is a lot more traveling and PR/marketing work for the team.
Could one say that your car is your workplace? Which other places are part of your working life?
Well because testing is banned in F1 (to keep costs down) there is very limited track time for me. This season I did one test day at Barcelona and will do two free practice sessions at the British and German GP therefore I would say the simulator back at the Williams F1 factory is more like my work place.