September 11, 2018 - Steirischer Herbst - steirischer herbst’18: opening days program
September 11, 2018

Steirischer Herbst

Design: Grupa Ee.

steirischer herbst’18: opening days program
September 20–22, 2018
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steirischer herbst, a major interdisciplinary festival of contemporary arts in Graz, Austria, opens its 51st edition, the first prepared by its new curatorial team. The opening weekend (September 20–22) offers a varied program including performances, installations, discursive events, concerts, and art in public space. For the first time, the festival’s main project is conceived as one exhibition spread out through different locations. Its title Volksfronten is provocative, a plural of the German word for the anti-fascist "popular front," later appropriated by the radical right. It references identitarian collisions and culture wars past and present, against the horizon of an as of yet unrealized anti-fascist coalition. 

The festival opens on Thursday, September 20, at 5pm at Graz’s Europaplatz with a parade by the legendary American performance group Bread & Puppet Theater. It will lead participants through the working-class part of town, addressing, in its performances, issues selected by the people of Graz. At 7:30pm, on Schloßbergplatz, a performance staged by the poet Roman Osminkin will vex the neoliberal aversion to revolution in a Dadaist collage entangling memories of October 1917 with the possibility of a fascist putsch. The evening culminates with a new stage production by the provocative Slovenian band Laibach, who revisit and repoliticize The Sound of Music and its suave Broadway version of Austria’s dark history. 

On Friday, September 21, the festival continues with a staged conference on the divisive question of “Allah vs. Coca Cola” by Warsaw-based Russian playwright and theater director Ivan Vyrypaev, and a large-scale happening on a revolution of plants by Igor & Ivan Buharov. On Saturday, the opening weekend takes another turn with an evocative performance by choreographer Michiel Vandevelde based on one of the greatest forgotten literary classics of the last century, Human Landscapes from My Country by the Turkish dissident poet Nâzım Hikmet. The day concludes with a cinematic-performative-musical evening with artist Roee Rosen, performer Hani Furstenberg and Igor Krutogolov’s Toy Orchestra.

Besides performative works, a parcours of installations awaits the audience. It includes Irina Korina’s gigantic environment exploring the connection between nature and nationalism, a forensic research installation by Milica Tomić revisiting the site of a forced labor camp near Graz, and Henrike Naumann’s design store telling an alternative story of 20th century Austria. Funda Gül Özcan revives a former Turkish bar with her flamboyant installation, Tony Chakar in collaboration with Nadim Mishlawi reinterpreting one of Graz’s landmark hotels with a tragic science-fiction story. A constellation of works including new projects by Ines DoujakMartin Behr & Martin Osterider, Christoph Szalay, Victoria Lomasko, Ekaterina Muromtseva and kozek hörlonski together with Alexander Martinz, explores folksy phantasms and uncanny horror-stories, questioning kitschy notions of homeland. 

Projects deliberately located in public space address the still-recent Nazi past, including works by Yoshinori Niwa, ZIP group, Rossella Biscotti & Kevin van Braak, and Michael Zinganel & Michael Hieslmair. Artist Lars Cuzner will greet the audience in Graz in person as the Eternal Leader of his brand-new Intelligence Party.

The program of steirischer herbst continues until October 14 with further performances and discursive events, and includes a rich collateral program of Graz’s institutions, as well as musikprotokol, a festival within the larger festival. The full program of steirischer herbst’18 as well as its online magazine Vorherbst, can be found at


steirischer herbst 2018
September 20–October 14, 2018
Various locations in Graz, Austria

The Volksfronten parcours includes works by:
Martin Behr & Martin Osterider / Rossella Biscotti & Kevin van Braak / Christian von Borries / Bread & Puppet Theater / Igor & Ivan Buharov / Tony Chakar & Nadim Mishlawi / Lars Cuzner / Department of Ultimology / Ines Doujak / Funda Gül Özcan / Nicoline van Harskamp / kozek hörlonski & Alexander Martinz  / Irina Korina / Laibach / Victoria Lomasko / Mazzaj & Ausländerbehörde / Ekaterina Muromtseva / Henrike Naumann / Yoshinori Niwa / Roman Osminkin / Michael Portnoy / Roee Rosen with Hani Furstenberg and Igor Krutogolov’s Toy Orchestra / Christoph Szalay / Theater im Bahnhof / Milica Tomić / Michiel Vandevelde / Ivan Vyrypaev / Oliver Zahn/HAUPTAKTION / Michael Zinganel & Michael Hieslmair / ZIP group

The Festival Pass gives admission to all events and installations of the Volksfronten program and hence allows multiple and repeated visits. Additionally, the annotations in the recently published Guidebook offer running curatorial commentary on connections one might draw, and suggest some paths through the exhibition and along the festival. 

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Steirischer Herbst
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