Festival of new art
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
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. Long
before everyone started talking about the necessity of networking
the arts, the festival integrated art, music, performance, dance,
theatre, literature, architecture, New Media and theory – over the
years with various focal points but always self-confidently on the conditions of the respective genres. As a dialogue, that
questions but never levels down the characteristic features of the
aesthetics and practices.
steirischer herbst presents and supports current artistic working
methods, characteristic styles and discourses. However, presenting
productions is only the most visible part of the programme. Research,
processes and developments are just as much part of this festival as
spectacular performances, large-scale exhibitions, space-dominating
concerts of New Music, architectural research, public debates and
night after night of celebration.