Graz 2020 / Graz

(c) Kulturjahr 2020: Neigungsgruppe K.O. Martin Behr, Johanna Hierzegger, Markus Wilfling

How do we want to live? This question is the focus of the Kulturjahr Graz 2020. Given the corona crisis, the quick answer is simple: Not like this! 

We live in times of “democratic imposition”. Many of our fundamental rights are limited by the Corona crisis: freedom of travel, freedom of establishment and movement, freedom of employment, etc. Everywhere we are subject to restrictions. Even the police shall now be legally authorised to invade the otherwise constitutionally protected privacy of citizens: for contact tracing. 

When the programme call for the Kulturjahr Graz 2020 was published, there was still no trace of Covid 19. At the centre of the concept stood the question: “How do we want to live?” Nobody could have guessed at that time what new urgency the issues raised in the programme projects would suddenly take on due to the Corona crisis. For this reason, the program coordinators around Christian Mayer decided, together with the artists, to extend the program, which was abruptly stopped by the shutdown in March, until 2021 in order to give the projects the space they deserve and to look at their content from a new perspective. 

While we will probably have to struggle with the Corona-induced restrictions on our fundamental freedoms until a vaccine is available, it is important to sharpen our senses and our attention on how we want to live together after this time. 

Social interaction, digital living and tomorrow’s work are central topics that have taken on new dimensions in recent months. Based on the idea “Culture creates urban future”, the projects deal with local conditions that are influenced by global developments – from migration and diversity to the effects of digitalization or even a pandemic. 

“You do not only become invisible when you are home alone, you are also no longer audible,” says Eva Hofer from the Theater im Bahnhof. In the production This City’s Loneliness / Die Einsamkeit dieser Stadt she explores urban, human loneliness together with Johannes Schrettle and Christina Lederhaas, from workinglifebalance ltd. “It’s about the peculiar contradiction between a large number of people in a confined space and an anonymity that becomes a problem for many,” says Schrettle. 

Together with 13 people from Graz and the surrounding area, they have conceived a show for the main square in Andritz: the live performance of the three artists is accompanied by audio recordings of the participants who stay at home and tell of a spectacle of love and fear as it could have been. Silence, talking, screaming but also collective shouting become an expression of loneliness and the desire to make contact. 


Politics and urban planning can contribute in many ways to counteract loneliness, the artists are convinced. For example in the creation of common, consumption-free areas and afford- able living spaces where human encounters and living together can take place. 

The Grazotopia project of Ana Jeinic also deals with these topics. Grazotopia is an experiment in participatory utopian urban planning and housing policy. Together with experts, students and other interested parties, it develops future plans in talks and workshops, which are presented in an exhibition at the end. Special attention will be paid to the little-noticed districts of Lend, Geidorf, Eggenberg, Andritz and Gösting. Growth-critical and solidarity-based economic models, cyber-socialist administrative concepts as well as the design of multi-ethnic residential communities are topics that the project takes up. 

Living together in cities and the urban neighbourhood is characterised by “Grätzln”, which can be found mainly in Graz. The secret main square of one of these “Grätzl” is the Ortweinplatz, the starting point for the production Graz. Ortweinplatz of the “local” TaO!. What happens at Ortweinplatz at different times of the day? Who uses, animates, inhabits it? Anna-Katerina Frizberg and Manfred Weissensteiner, in cooperation with the neighbourhood, have developed a three-part outdoor theatre soap that takes up motifs, people and ideas of the neighbourhood. 

Other environments in the city are explored by the Grazer Kunstverein, which integrates culture into everyday life with the project Der Grazer Kunstverein zieht um and moves into a wine tavern in Ries and an abandoned elevator shaft in Gösting in the summer. 

New familiarity at sight and hearing distance 

Klangforum Wien takes a step back and turns the originally planned living room concerts into courtyard concerts with the production Happiness -Seriousness / A Counterpoint. The Neigungsgruppe K.O. also adapts to the circumstances and without further ado turns the 7000 pepper sprays that were to be distributed to the population of Graz into 5000 disinfection sprays. The need for security has led to a new orientation due to the developments around the corona virus – in the opinion of the Neigungsgruppe around Johanna Hierzegger, Markus Wilfling and Martin Behr, it is our joint responsibility to make a contribution against this threat. 

What does an urban future look like in which we want to live together? Christina Lederhaas knows for herself: “In a city with more trees, space for pedestrians and a serious integra- tion of the needs of the residents.” How these needs have changed in terms of security, social exchange and the preservation of basic rights. 

Der Grazer Kunstverein zieht in die Buschenschank
Heurigenschenke Sattler 

Etepetete Poetry Slam
Christoph Steiner und Yannick Steinkellner 
Kirchplatz Herz-Jesu Kirche 

Der Grazer Kunstverein zieht in einen verlassenen Aufzugsschacht
Haltestelle Volksschule Gösting 

Ana Jeinić
UtopieInkubator, UtopieSchule, Utopielabor
Forum Stadtpark
10.09. – 30.09.2020

5000 Desinfektionssprays – Intervention
Jänner bis Dezember 2020

Dystoptimal – Augmented Reality Game
01.07. – 31.12.2020 

Humming Room – Soundinstallation
Juli bis Oktober 2020

This City’s loneliness – Performance about loneliness
28.07. – 01.08.2020 

Happiness – seriousness / a counterpoint – living room concerts
06. – 08.08. und 17. + 18.10.2020.

Graz.Ortweinplatz – Theater Performance
07. – 15.08.2020

Eve or Adam or what – Videoanimation
Eröffnung 12.09.2020 

Die Stadt und das gute Leben – Exhibition, scientific project
Eröffnung 18.09.2020