September 17, 2020 - Steirischer Herbst - steirischer herbst ’20: Paranoia TV
September 17, 2020

Steirischer Herbst

Image: Grupa Ee

steirischer herbst ’20
Paranoia TV
September 24–October 18, 2020
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In these extraordinary times, steirischer herbst—the interdisciplinary contemporary art festival in Graz and Styria—opens an extraordinary edition in which it assumes the identity of a fictitious media conglomerate called Paranoia TV. In a period where art’s public dimension is restricted or even suspended, Paranoia TV employs guerrilla tactics such as direct delivery, invading newspaper pages, accidental meetings in supermarkets, hospitals, bookstores, or simply in the streets of Graz.

They are complemented by compelling and binge-worthy online content, as well as an intense program of discussions with philosophers and artists. These discussions will take place both online and in real life at the Paranoia TV Headquarters in Graz, where the mascot of the festival and paranoia specialist, Dr. Siggi Freud, gives AI-generated answers to the audience’s queries. All works are newly commissioned and represent artists’ reflections on a world arising in the midst of a pandemic and their fears and hopes for the drastic changes that might lie ahead. The 53rd edition of steirischer herbst is curated by Ekaterina Degot and her curatorial team.

Shows, Premieres, and Games
Tune in for specially commissioned artist-developed series that you could never find on your favorite streaming service. Tamar Guimarães (with Luisa Cavanagh and Alejandro Millán Pastori) subverts the soap opera format that is popular in Brazil among the electorate of Jair Bolsonaro. Sergey Bratkov pushes the boundaries of absurdity and melancholia with three new tragicomic clips. A set of three new short films by John Smith offers glimpses of daily life under Covid-19 and the UK government’s inept response. Ingo Niermann’s explosive new satire in twenty-five episodes imagines a world in which prominent white men retreat to a special “bastion” in Germany’s southeast. Together, Lina Majdalanie and Rabih Mroué take a close look at strangers’ photos bought at flea markets in an ambitious new series. Christian von Borries and Jonathan Aner investigate the politics of German classical songs for voice and piano. A homemade horror movie is the topic of Liv Schulman’s miniseries. Graz’s Theater im Bahnhof makes a miniseries about a couple trying to make the perfect communist art together with their neighbors. Diederik Peeters’s show investigates dangerously convincing delusions. Rana Hamadeh charts a new route through Oedipus Rex in 3-D. Prepper duo Quast & Knoblich provide invaluable tips on how to make chicken noodle soup with pee.

Join us for the premieres of specially commissioned artists videos and full-length features. Ahmet Öğüt delves into the history of artworks made at home, for the home, with a new documentary film-essay. Josef Dabernig’s film follows a spooky organ player through the countryside. Clemens von Wedemeyer revisits a disaster response drill. Dani Gal reenacts three episodes from the history of avant-garde music to tell the story of Israeli soldiers breaking the silence on the occupation. Pauline Curnier Jardin visits socially distanced religious processions. Joanna Rajkowska and Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman’s film enacts an uprising of hunted animals through the use of marionettes. A radio play by Susanne SachsseMarc Siegel, and Xiu Xiu casts a paranoid trajectory from Paul B. Preciado to William Burroughs. Finally, Anna Witt investigates the possibilities for bodily solidarity despite physical distance.

Online games investigate the boundary between fact and fiction, offering modes of serious play. A text adventure by Alexandra Pirici and Jonas Lund tells the story of a mysterious chronic fatigue syndrome that brings the whole world to a standstill. Chrystèle Nicot and Antoine Alesandrini’s game offers an interactive video tutorial on how to go back to the office to fall in love. Neïl Beloufa and Bad Manner’s set players off on a twisted path filled to the brim with videos and other surprises.

Discursive Program
Discussions, talks, and conferences investigate controversial political topics arising in our current paranoia-fueled times. Artists’ talks offer in-depth insights into the commissioned works. Conversations convened by Srećko Horvat, Herwig G. Höller, Adam Kleinman, Milo Rau, and Hito Steyerl take a look at all the other virulent phenomena accompanying the virus, from cancel culture to the new right’s Identitarian movement. Guests include Manuel Arturo Abreu, Franco “Bifo” BerardiAria Dean, Lulo Demarco, Kerry Doran, Bill Fontana, Bobby Gillespie, Heimo Halbrainer, Eva Illouz, Martha KenneyDean Kissick, Stephanie Krisper, Achille Mbembe, Robert Pfaller, Drehli Robnik, Dorion Sagan, Astrid SchraderJohann Skocek, Natascha Strobl, Ece Temelkuran, Mark Terkessidis, Yanis Varoufakis, and Mark Waschke.

A conference co-organized with Graz’s legendary institution Forum Stadtpark investigates the dystopian and utopian potentials of the present moment. Guests include AK.Unbehagen, Fahim Amir, Antonia von Anarres / Antonia im Eulenspiegel / Lain Iwakura, Aaron BastaniSilvia Federici, das kollektiv, and Alexander Neupert-Doppler.

Up until his tragic and untimely passing, David Graeber was working with his partner, artist Nika Dubrovsky on a project for Paranoia TV. This event is now canceled. A group of friends and comrades are currently planning the facilitation of a commemorative event for Sunday 11 October, to be held worldwide in the spirit of the movements and ideas to which David Graeber devoted so much energy during his lifetime. The festival is actively supporting this initiative. Details will be made available shortly.

Full details of the talks and discussions in the program can be found at

Opening Days and Program in Graz
The festival opens with the traditional opening speech, this time presented on one hundred screens in the center of Graz. It is followed by a unique fusion of radio play and performance, conceived by Janez Janša, offering audience members a vicarious experience of the European Football Championship’s imaginary finals. Lulu Obermayer occupies Graz’s opera house and deconstructs the role of women in the operatic canon. Blind Date Collaboration, anulla, and monochrom hold the first ever trade union meeting of smart appliances. Thomas Geiger starts a live three-part talk show in which he impersonates capitalism himself. Later during the festival, Alexander Chernyshkov and his team present a piece of musical theater investigating the new and old rules restricting performance.

Other works in Graz and surroundings are accessible to visitors from 25 September onward. An installation by Igor Samolet complements the elaborate setup of the Paranoia TV Headquarters. Here, visitors receive the perfect selfie-accessory for an age of paranoid narcissism by Judy Radul. Two maps by artists groups studio ASYNCHROME and Gelatin remember Vienna and Graz, which neither visited during the lockdown. Vadim Fishkin makes two streetlights in the park have a dialogue on imaginary places. A photo booth at the center of town mixes portraits with new photos by Akinbode Akinbiyi. An intervention by Lawrence Abu Hamdan in two of Graz’s supermarkets hints at a not-too-distant future when everyday objects and surfaces will act as monitoring devices. Sung Tieu intervenes in a local paper with hand-drawn obituaries of obsolete notions. Joanna Piotrowska’s newspaper reaches its audience along with takeaway food deliveries, and Roee Rosen’s new coloring book about cancer will be distributed to inpatients and staff at the University Hospital Graz.

Easy Access to All Things Paranoia TV
Join us at Paranoia TV (, where you can find a detailed schedule as well as further information about the individual artist projects.

The easiest way to navigate Paranoia TV’s dense and packed program is by downloading the Paranoia TV app, available for free download for iOS and Android from September 24.

Journalists can obtain accreditation for the festival. To apply for press accreditation, please contact us via e-mail at press [​at​] On-site accreditation is not possible this year.

Professional visitors can apply for accreditation for the Opening Days (September 24-26) by sending an e-mail to pro [​at​]


Steirischer Herbst
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