22.09. – 16.10.2022
steirischer herbst starts a special artistic operation to free people from delusion.
“Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube.” The political motto of the Habsburg Maximilian I is still effective today in neutral Austria. wars? none of our business. As far as marriage is concerned: the former foreign minister did not marry the “Tsar”, but at least bowed the knee to him at her wedding. Ekaterina Degot, the director of steirischer herbst is adjusting the perspectives with this year’s festival programme. This “war in the distance”, with which the state model of free, pluralistic, constitutional democracy is attacked as such, is not that far away.
In order to raise awareness of wars that have been ignored or denied, the festival stages what Degot calls a “special art history museum”. In the central exhibition of this year’s steirischer herbst, “A war in the distance” in the Neue Galerie in Graz, works from the 19th and 20th centuries that appear innocent at first glance are juxtaposed with contemporary art projects. With this connection of past and present, strategies to cover up hidden conflicts and warfare are also made recognizable and thus the view of the political present shall be sharpened. Participating artists include Gabriel Abrantes, Friederike Anders, Keti Chukhrov, Josef Dabernig, and Jannik Franzen. This sharpened view for hidden forms of warfare could perhaps also be “insightful” for those Western European politicians who are not willing to recognize and acknowledge the targeted attacks on the democratic, political model of the European Union and the “West” as a whole through hybrid forms of warfare, the use of energy and food shortening as weapons, propaganda manipulation of elections or Brexit, cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the EU and other countries, poisoning, mercenary armies in African countries and in Syria, and the resulting waves of refugees that are dividing and destabilizing the EU, the financial and logistical support of right-wing extremist parties in Europe etc. as what it is. Not only in Ukraine but practically everywhere in the democratic world.
Anyone who thinks that the Western sanctions are “only conceived with one half of the brain” and must be relaxed because they (of course) also harm us economically, calls for the abandonment of the politicological principle of “defensive democracy” and thus ultimately asks the democratic form of government as such for discussion. After populists and mercantilists already managed to burst cracks in the political unity against this fundamental attack on our free democratic life model, steirischer herbst relies on artistic forms of resistance.
Artistic resistance against all obstacles, including those of war, is the subject of Raed Yassin’s performance “The Theatricality of a Postponed Death” at the festival opening. A significant evolution of her artistic and musical practice takes the form of a funeral procession with brass band, reminiscent of a theatrical puppet procession that took place in Beirut in the 1980s when Lebanon was raging civil war. Organized by director Raif Karam, the parade not only protests against the devastating wartime situation, but also questions the limitations of the theater itself. The “Theater im Bahnhof” takes aim at the ignorance of capital: there can only be one answer to climate change and the approaching wars in Graz: continue to build. In the middle of the city center there is even a tried and tested crisis-proof property with the potential for densification. The Schlossberg tunnels: At least that’s how the real estate company imagined by the Theater im Bahnhof thinks in the production “Underground dreams come true – in Graz!!!”So if you don’t want to face reality and would rather hide in a subterranean luxury property, you have the opportunity to do so at this year’s steirischer herbst.
steirischer herbst 2022
22.09. – 16.10.2022
Various locations Graz / Steiermark