Where Are We Now?
Retrospective views, presentiments & departures into the unknown

„The most important exchange is with the unknown.“
Tim Etchells


steirischer herbst is taking place for the fiftieth time in 2017. The festival is grateful for this opportunity to ask some fundamental questions about the way art and society see their position: Where exactly do we stand? What led to this present? And what instruments will we use to define our place in the world and the roads we follow in future? Or: “Where Are We Now?”

The “We” of today’s Western world is usually defined with the aid of such parameters as progress and added value, ones which we have meanwhile internalised to the extent that we see them as natural instincts. This has played into the hands of populist hate-talkers who rally people behind them with the promise of securing lasting victory in a relentless competitive environment.

But where are the alternative visions of the world that could enthuse and unite people? What could a different system of reference look like? What are its core values? What languages are needed, what senses, what kind of thinking, what spaces and conditions? In its fiftieth instalment, steirischer herbst does not put forward this other world as a vision. Instead, the aim is to test a variety of different posits in which this other world might be conceived and projected.

The participants in this year’s anniversary programme make time and space for knowledge and sensuality, for a playful handling of history and a curiosity about things to come. Instrumental rationality and faith in progress take second place to presence in the here and now. In a wide range of different formats, the aim is to question the role of hope, fear and the promise of happiness for the individual and the collective condition. Hidden links, all manner of undead things, and repressed truths come to light. Dreams, dizzying and breath-taking acts of precipitousness all find their place in the programme.

Where might the branches towards a different future lie amidst this diversity? With a spirit of adventure, we expose ourselves to a variety of projections and as yet unformulated drafts in this year’s steirischer herbst programme. After all, we yearn for the future – albeit for a future that is truly different.