Wednesday, 30 September 2015

steirischer herbst

"steirischer herbst has re-invented itself many times in its history – an amorphous institution in progress that poses the question as to its conditions and necessities as a very individual platform for new art every year. As a festival, steirischer herbst is special in many respects: by dint of its many voices, its promotion of communication between the various disciplines of art, thanks to the link-up of aesthetic positions and theoretical discourse. Its clear-cut positioning as a festival of production and processes, of facilitation and initiation is also special – and increasingly necessary in the international politico-cultural situation.

The incorporation and networking of both international and regional artists, scenes and contexts is a central issue – steirischer herbst did, after all, emerge from an initiative of local scenes, on the one hand, and has taken productive advantage of its proximity to Slovenia, Croatia and the Central and Eastern European regions (long before the opening of most borders), on the other. Paradoxically (and with some self-irony), steirischer herbst can be referred to as an avant-garde festival with tradition: For forty years now, steirischer herbst has been one of the world’s few festivals of contemporary art that is by nature truly multidisciplinary." (via)
"When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills." Chinese proverb
The festival steirischer herbst (literally "Styrian autumn") takes place every autumn in and around the Austrian (Styrian) city of Graz. In her opening speech last weekend, festival director Veronica Kaup-Hasler pointed out that there were no simple solutions for complex situations. She said that building fences and turning Europe into a fortress were signs of not knowing about history, of not having thought about the future ... and of having no idea what art is about. Kaup-Hasler asked people to re-read the Geneva Convention on Refugees. Based on the initiative "Hunger auf Kunst und Kultur" (created in 2003 to grant free entrance to those who otherwise would not be able to attend cultural activities, such as people receiving social welfare or minimal retirement pensions), refugees are welcome to visit performances and exhibitions during the steirischer herbst free of charge if they are not sold out (via).
"Es gibt keine einfachen Lösungen für diese komplexen Anforderungen an unsere Zeit. Wer einfache Lösungen parat hat, etwa meint, dass das Errichten von Zäunen, die Perfektionierung der Festung Europa, das Verharren im vermeintlich Eigenen liegen, hat sich weder mit Geschichte auseinander gesetzt noch mit zukunftsfähigen Visionen. Und schon gar nicht mit Kunst." Veronica Kaup-Hasler
Programme 2015: link

- photographs by Burt Glinn (1925-2008), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1964 via and via
- Interesting interview with Kaup-Hasler on art, culture and migration from 2013 (in German): link