Resident: Theresa Santner
Photographer Bernard Müller in conversation with occupational therapist and pasta influencer Theresa Santner, born in Tamsweg in 1992, lives in St. Michael in Lungau.
“I’m Theresa from Lungau and I make pasta.”
What was your career like?
I’m originally from Tamsweg, my mom is from Steiermark and that’s why we have a bit of a connection to Steiermark, of course. I went to secondary school in Tamsweg and then to multiaugustinum in St. Margarethen for a year. But I always wanted to become a kindergarten teacher and then I came to Salzburg to the BAKIP, did the study there for 5 years and then I lived in Seekirchen for 1 year and worked in the day care center. Because of love I came back to the Lungau, but then it fell apart, but I stayed there and had an apartment in Tamsweg again, with my dog Moses. Then I met Manni, came up to St. Michael and thought I would like to do and see something new and then I started studying occupational therapy in Klagenfurt and have been doing that for 4 years now. First we lived with Manni his parents, they have room rentals and a very large house, but we wanted something of our own and have discovered this old house and rebuilt for us, for 2 years we are now there and fully happy – I do not want to live anywhere else. In Lungau I am happy and everything I need is there, including my girlfriends, a Mädlgruppe of 6 girlfriends. It has spread out over and over again and each of them has been in a different city, but most of them have come back to the Lungau.
What do you particularly appreciate about the Lungau?
It is so central. The city people always think they live so centrally, but we can just get in the car and be in the city or be at the sea or on the mountains. You can pursue what you want, whether you want to go to the city or just have your peace and quiet. I especially appreciate the togetherness here in the Lungau, everyone knows everyone, that has its pros and cons, but as you shout into the forest so it comes out again and if you yourself are open and nice, then you will meet again in the Lungau.
Are there also disadvantages for your life here in Lungau?
There is always the issue with the profession. After I completed my training as an occupational therapist, the question was, where can you find a job in Lungau? Occupational therapy is so specific and there are maybe five jobs in Lungau. After the training I thought that I would have to commute, but I was lucky that exactly the job I wanted was available, it is in Tamsweg and I am mobile and go to the kindergartens in Zederhaus, in Muhr and I am everywhere in Lungau. Otherwise, the situation in Lungau is often a disadvantage, because on the one hand there are jobs that are advertised, but no one does it, and on the other hand there are some jobs that are not available and then you have to commute.
What do you consider to be the cultural assets of the Lungau?
On the one hand, the customs, which are also held very high here. I was once with Tina Heine at the Samson procession and she said it’s crazy that you have a brass band in every village and she doesn’t know that from the north, where it’s more of a hobby. With us there are just the clubs and they come together regularly, there is really something behind it. The people of Lungau are also like that; when they say we’re going to do something, they do it properly.
Are you active in a club yourself?
I founded a gymnastics group, which unfortunately is not a club, because it turned out to be very difficult. There has always been the issue with women, what do women do. There are all kinds of things for the men, but not many for the women, so I thought, let’s do it ourselves and we’ll meet every Thursday and do fun things, because it’s important to get out and meet regularly.
How do you feel about the cultural and artistic offerings in Lungau?
There is actually not so little. Rösler Rosmarie (retired secondary school teacher and head of the education center in Ramingstein) does a lot with her husband, Edgar, and they often make sure that there are lectures in Lungau and that something is offered. Back in school there was a huge theater group, where something was really going on. Wimmer Robert (chairman of the Lungau Cultural Association) also does a lot in Lungau. It’s not that nothing is happening here, because if you want to and if you deal with it, then you will also find something.
How did you get in touch with the Supergau Festival?
That was actually quite funny. In kindergarten school I had a young, very committed drawing teacher with whom I graduated, and I hadn’t even heard of the Supergau Festival and she sent me a link and wrote: Apply there, otherwise I’ll apply for you. So I said: what should I do? Because I’m not an artist in that sense, or I wouldn’t define myself that way. And she said: They’re looking for people who can do something good or can do something and dare to show it. So I simply wrote to Tina Heine from the Supergaufestival: I am Theresa from Lungau and I make noodles. Tina also got in touch and immediately came over and said: What made you write me an email like that? Because there is an official process and you have to submit something and I didn’t really deal with that. But then she said: but you’re still in, because you are sympathetic to me and somehow we got along well right away. Yes, and then we came up with the idea that it would be cool if there was a table that always had the same host and that would wander around the Lungau and people would meet there and talk about certain topics. We imagined that the table would always look the same and be outdoors, and that people would notice the table as they passed by, but that outdoor is a bit difficult to plan in the Lungau. And now we are cooking in three different places on 3 different themes and with different guests. Before the festival we do a kickoff event for the mayors and their wives, with discussions, that’s the first, and as a second we cook already in the festival for the mountain rescue. Because volunteering is already a topic in the Lungau, many people simply do something out of conviction or because it is important to them and we want to honor that. And once we turn it around and host the hosts from the Lungau, because there is a concept in pedagogy, which is called “mothering the mother” that people feel comfortable and can go out of themselves and are open to suggestions. We want to apply this to the hosts, because the hosts are also very important for the community. It is often a togetherness, but often people don’t allow themselves the butter on the bread, especially now that there is such a shortage of staff, there are simply difficult issues and we want to bring the innkeepers together and give them the opportunity to find a togetherness. I’m already afraid of it, because they can all cook much better than I can. Let’s see.
Have you already met many artists from the festival?
I’ve actually been there from the beginning and that’s why I know almost everyone. And I am now somehow part of Team Lungau, and when one of the artists needs something, then I try to find a choir, for example, or like with the Aurora, I say that Manni can do that, or where do we get the tools, just all the organizational things. Or who owns the field or like the sundial, which must almost be in Maria Pfarr, because the Maria Pfarrer say we are the sunniest place, that’s their advertising slogan and we laugh then, because often it’s not so sunny. The insider things just.
It is a modern art festival in public space, how do you see the resonance in the population?
I see it very much as an enrichment. But what I would have liked is for the things to stay there. Like the sundial, that is totally beautiful and it would be nice if it would stay there and not be gone again after 10 days. With the inhabitants I have already heard both sides, on the one hand there is a lot of curiosity and that has never been there before, and I don’t want to say anything wrong, on the other hand they say that it costs so much money now and that is invested in it and then the works of art are simply gone again. That is a point that can be seen critically. But overall there is a lot of curiosity. And also because the artists approach people so openly and simply ask, do you know someone I should get to know. And I have the feeling that it’s a good match. We’ll just have to see what the festival is like. For example, there is such a project in Ramingstein, I think Lukas, who fill up something and there I was myself so that I think that is not so good with us, because with us there are already so many uneven surfaces. In Tamsweg an older farmer’s wife arranged a snack for us and when we asked her: “Do you know a farmer who makes his level meadows available to us for filling? – she said: No – with us there everyone is glad, if he has a level meadow. Perhaps one cannot imagine everything now, but if one has it then before itself, one sees perhaps nevertheless the benefit.
The Lungau is rather difficult to reach by public transport, how do you see the possibilities to see all the artworks?
I think that is not such a problem, because we in Lungau are used to it and you know, who wants to see it, will see it for sure. For example, Stefano, they are doing a project in St. Andrä at the theme trail of the witch burning and that is a good place, because even people who do not read it or who are not interested, they are still walking there, because there are many people and they are in contact with it and maybe they are curious to look at other things. Maybe you don’t need it if you don’t know it – if you know it then it would come off. In any case, I’m looking forward to it and have already said: What will we do when it’s over?