OPEN MIND Festival / Salzburg

Showcase Beat Le Mot "Walden" (c) Janosch Abel

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Who owns the world? And who owns the nature? This years OPEN MIND festival in Salzburg examines these questions. 

We can more easily imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” This provocative thesis of the British philosopher and cultural theorist Mark Fisher forms a starting point for the program of this year’s OPEN MIND Festival in Salzburg. In this way, Fisher illustrates how the dominance of a paradigmatic economic model is capable of restricting our thinking as such. But what if the underlying paradigms are not correct or valid? In Fisher’s view, this economic model therefore only describes a zeitgeist in which, however, “it has now become almost impossible to imagine a coherent alternative at all.” 

Theresa Seraphin and Sebastian Linz, the new directors of the OPEN MIND Festival, have put together a program for this year’s edition of the festival that invites us to think about this very impossibility. Due to the ongoing crisis the festival will take place exclusively online, already bought tickets can easily be reversed or converted into streaming tickets.

The Corona crisis has shown us how economic-political dogmas that were considered “without alternatives” in the past decades have been thrown overboard within a few weeks. The dogma of zero deficit: was yesterday. The state should not disturb the so-called “free market” with state intervention: no longer applies. In the Corona crisis, just as in the financial crisis of 2008, it is clear that the “free” market economy cannot cope with crises that are not foreseen by the model. 

But Seraphin and Linz are going one step further with this year’s program. What we experienced in 2008 and what we are experiencing now was crisis SYMP- TOM combat. However, the OPEN MIND Festival is interested in new possible models that are capable of overcoming the causes of the crisis. The metaphor of the Austrian President puts it in a nutshell: “There will be no vaccination against climate change.” 

At the start of the festival, economist Hans- Jürgen Jakobs and business information scientist Ludger Eversmann will discuss the question: “Who owns the capital?”. The German philosopher Christine Ax examines the question of whether nature itself also has rights, in that it belongs to itself and is therefore not subject to the laws of the “market”. 

The OPEN MIND Festival also shows how alternative positions are developed on a local level: Starting with the concept of a “biocracy” based on the idea of the common good, the example of the village of Sarayaku in Ecuador’s Amazon jungle is presented, which has so far been able to successfully defend itself against the intrusion of international oil companies into its territory. 

The theater production “Peasant Island” by Silke Huysmans and Hannes Dereere takes the recent his- tory of the small island state of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean as the starting point for a play that drastically illustrates the social and ecological coercive mechanisms of the currently dominant economic system: after Nauru’s high-yield phosphate deposits were exploited, the state was faced with bankruptcy. In order to generate state revenue, Nauru now interned refugees and was paid by Australia. 

OPEN MIND Festival 

12. – 21.11.2020 
Ulrike-Gschwandtner-Straße 5 
5020 Salzburg