steirischer herbst - The Festival of New Arts
For more than thirty years, steirischer herbst has been constantly reinventing itself. As a forum for composers and directors, actors, authors, musicians, visual artists, architects, designers and scientists who join forces every year with organisers and curators, journalists and the interested art public to embark on an exploration of contemporary developments.
In his opening speech for the third steirischer herbst, founder and president Hanns Koren described the objectives of steirischer herbst as follows: "The aim is for the intellectual forces of this city to match themselves against each other in these few weeks. They are to SHOW what they are capable of, what interests them, what they are qualified to do - our artists, but equally so our scholars and teachers. This Symposium Styriacum will be founded on examples that concern us all, in the artworks and in the issues of a new science." But steirischer herbst is also faced with the challenge of constantly readjusting its position. In this technicised, globalised world with its manifold and complex forms of identity construction, Hanns Koren's original idea of an "exhibition" of Styrian art has become quintessentially infeasible. If we were to try to cling to it, this would mean risking illusionary - at the very worst politically dangerous - regionalism. Instead, our aim today is therefore to forge links between artists where such links make sense in terms of art, without attending to origin, political borders and residence permits: art as an instrument for exploring current and future social trends; the festival as a place where the diversity of approaches and dispositions FROM a wide range of artistic and scientific disciplines are confronted and placed in a context, as a place for a broad investigation of advanced forms of contemporary art.
What remains, however, is the obligation of critical analysis of social and political developments. steirischer herbst challenges and discusses rigid, internalised norms and values, familiar ways of thinking and acting, and draws up utopias. For this purpose, the artists often employ linguistic, thematic and aesthetic means that in some cases seek to provoke, shock and snub the public. Albeit not for the sake of provoking, but rather with the aim of triggering processes of reflection and discourse. steirischer herbst operates in this field of tension. On the one hand it sets out to appeal to as large a public as possible, on the other disassociating itself from mass tastes and established "high culture", being irksome, experimental and above all not fashionable.