November 7, 2017 - Haus der Kunst - "Specters of Communism. A Festival on the Revolutionary Century"
November 7, 2017

Haus der Kunst

Graphic: Haus der Kunst

"Specters of Communism. A Festival on the Revolutionary Century"
November 16–21, 2017

Haus der Kunst
Prinzregentenstrasse 1
80538 Munich
Hours: Wednesday–Monday 10am–6pm,
Thursday 10am–10pm,
Friday–Saturday 10am–8pm

T +49 89 21127113
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On the occasion of the centenary of the October Revolution in Russia and nearly one hundred years after Kurt Eisner declared Bavaria a Free State and a socialist republic at the Mathäser-Bräu in Munich, Haus der Kunst will convene “Specters of Communism: A Festival on the Revolutionary Century." This festival will trace the multifaceted, partly contrary and partly astonishingly parallel manifestations of global communism.

Conceived as a sequence of live events, the festival will bring together participants from across the fields of art, philosophy, political theory, theater, performance, art history, film studies, and music in order to unfold the historical legacies of communism as a major feature of 20th and 21st century artistic, intellectual and political thought.

As first part of a trilogy, the exhibition Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965 closed in March 2017. The festival will act as a bridge to the next two parts, Postcolonialism and Postcommunism.

“Specters of Communism” is organized in five sequences: “After all the Failures—Reinventing an Emancipatory Future” (Michael Hirsch, convenor); “Scenes for a Revolution” (Kerstin Stakemeier, convenor); “The Adventures of Will and Intelligence” (Raqs Media Collective, convenor); “Form, Mastery and Aural Disintegration” (Benjamin Piekut, convenor); and “Tableaux Vivants” (Münchner Kammerspiele, convenor).

This moment of reflection on communist legacies and its multiple manifestations happens at a time which is often believed to be post-ideological. Are politics today merely aiming at an acceleration of global capital circulation? In 1989, Francis Fukuyama had postulated the “end of history”. "Even if you disagree with his theses", says Okwui Enwezor, "it is striking that all efforts of integration policies in Europe during the first two decades of the twenty-first century have failed to prevent the rise of right-wing populist politics, neo-nationalism, Islamist radicalism, anti-immigration movements and the resistance to globalization."

The surge of such movements challenges the ideological resilience of states, elites and markets. In this light, how can the legacies and failures of communism be reappraised? “Specters of Communism” draws attention to the last hundred years as well as to the relevance and potential of the sociological models exacted by revolutions and communist movements—such as social solidarities, coalition politics, the eradication of social inequality, and collective action.

Keynote Speakers:
Zhiyuan Cui

Claudia von Alemann, Ulrich Brand, Igor Chubarov, Anthony Cokes, David Ellerman, Melanie Gilligan, Friederike Habermann, Sidsel Meineche Hansen, Detlef Hartmann, Anke Hennig, Michael Hirsch, Hon-Lun Yang, Meena Kandasamy, Lantian Xie, Tamara Levitz, Sajan Mani, Münchner Kammerspiele Ensemble, Fumi Okiji, Jay Pather, Benjamin Piekut, Qingmei Yao, Johannes Paul Raether, Raqs Media Collective, Adrian Rifkin, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Kerstin Stakemeier, Raul Zelik  

Concept: Okwui Enwezor
Program Curator: Dr Damian Lentini
Program Organizer: Andrea Saul
Research: Tim Roerig


“Specters of Communism. A Festival on the Revolutionary Century” is conceived and organized by Haus der Kunst in cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, as part of the HKW long-term project “100 Years of Now," which is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media by resolution of the German Bundestag.

The project in Munich is produced in collaboration with Münchner Kammerspiele.

Haus der Kunst
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