Open Mind Festival ’21

Open Mind Festival © Rimini Protokoll, Temple du présent 2021

Chthulucene – “Make kin, not babies” is the motto of this year’s festival.

“Make kin, not babies!” demands the feminist, biologist, philosopher and science theorist Donna Haraway and proclaims the age of Chthulucene, which in her view is about to replace the Anthropocene, i.e. the age in which humans dominated and overformed the earth. 

Haraway derives the term Chthulucene from the Greek root khthon, earth-bound being. Haraway’s purpose in introducing this neologism is to achieve a fundamental shift in perspective in thinking about the relationship between human beings and the planet on which we live.

Haraway also wants to shatter a nearly 3,000-year-old dogma: “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it,” the authors of the First Book of Moses issued as a guide to action. And apparently “succeeded” in doing so.

Where it could lead to if we no longer view the world from a perspective in which man alone is the measure of all things is the subject of this year’s program of the OPEN MIND Festival of ARGE Kultur Salzburg, curated by Theresa Seraphin and Sebastian Linz. 

The festival program explores a thought experiment: What would a world look like in which we consider not only our fellow humans, but all living beings, from primates to amoebas and plants, as equal “conspecifics.” In theater performances, readings, media art projects, concerts and discourse formats, this idea is explored and experienced in a way that is both pleasurable and intellectually challenging.

The theater collective Rimini Protokoll will show its latest film production “Temple du present,” which was made in co-production with ARGE Kultur Salzburg. The film documents the attempts at dialogue between an octopus and the people with whom it was brought into contact as part of a theater project. Stephan Kaegi, member of the theater collective Rimini Protokoll will also be one of the guests in the festival discourse series Art GenossInnen.

The argeBOT, programmed by the production team around Christian Schuchart, will also have its say at the Open Mind Festival. In the spirit of Donna Haraway, who advocates that we imagine a future in which we interact not only with biological creatures but also with artificial intelligences and cyborgs on an equal footing, the argeBot will once again be available as a discussion partner for festival visitors. Even if his answers sometimes pose a riddle, as a dialogue on the last National Council election illustrates: 

User*in: “Dear BOT, who do you think will win the National Council election on Sunday?” 

argeBOT: “Hmm. Are you my reference see you know, already truth have weeks of thinking about what it actually wanted.”

A dialogue that gives hope. Because he makes clear: Message Control is probably doomed to failure in the Chthuluzän …

Open Mind Festival 2021
11. – 20.11.2021
ARGE Kultur Salzburg