April 3, 2020 - Steirischer Herbst - A Pleasant Apocalypse: Notes from the Grand Hotel Abyss
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April 3, 2020

Steirischer Herbst

Image: Grupa Ee.

A Pleasant Apocalypse: Notes from the Grand Hotel Abyss
A reader on the festival’s 52nd edition

www.steirischerherbst.at
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The 52nd edition of steirischer herbst, a major interdisciplinary festival of contemporary art in Graz and Styria, Austria, delved deep into the disruptive contradictions and uncanny charms of Hapsburgian Europe and their relevance for the rest of the world. In a three-week-long expanded exhibition of installations, performance works, and discursive events, the festival’s 2019 edition focused on the tension between pleasure and catastrophe in the culinary and aesthetic pleasure zones of our day. Its title was Grand Hotel Abyss—a striking turn of phrase used by philosopher Georg Lukács to describe the European intellectual and cultural scene as it faced the approach of fascism.

A Pleasant Apocalypse: Notes from the Grand Hotel Abyss is the title of the accompanying reader, published by Hatje Cantz this spring. Richly illustrated with full-color images of artworks created for the festival, it gathers specially commissioned texts by philosophers, historians, writers, and artists, offering theoretical reflections and artistic insights into the structure of hedonism in ever-more apocalyptic times. 

The book’s contributions tap into the unsettling histories and fascist substrates of seemingly idyllic settings and into the dialectical images of suffering and destruction consumed daily. They reveal how the neoliberal economy extracts surplus pleasure and trumpets the imperative to be happy, all the while generating images rehearsing the end of the world, images to be mistrusted, but never to be taken lightly. These are analyses, confessionals, polemics, and travelogues—contributions to an as-of-yet unwritten critical history of catastrophic pleasures and normalized transgressions.

A Pleasant Apocalypse: Notes from the Grand Hotel Abyss is introduced through a foreword by Ekaterina Degot and David Riff, and features contributions by Ariel Efraim Ashbel, Keti Chukhrov, Goran Ferčec, Riccardo Giacconi, Eva Illouz, Siegfried Kracauer, Stephan Lessenich, Daniel Mann, Marko Radmilovič, Aaron Schuster, Vladimir Sorokin, Hasso Spode, Michiel Vandevelde, Gernot Wieland, and Evan Calder Williams. 

A Pleasant Apocalypse: Notes from the Grand Hotel Abyss can now be pre-ordered via our website. Members of the press who wish to review this publication can contact us via mail.

Further information and press contact: press@steirischerherbst.at

steirischer herbst
Sackstraße 17 
8010 Graz 
Austria

T +43 316 816070 
info [​at​] steirischerherbst.at

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