Austria’s avant-garde Steirischer Herbst (Autumn in Steiermark) festival opens (Sept. 24 – Oct. 18, 2009)
With a leading motif of “All the Same,” the 2009 festival offers a program that poses questions about the homogenization of today’s world and the resulting paradoxes and contradictions. The performing arts program is highlighted by the work Radio Muezzin by Stefan Kaegi/Rimini Protokoll dealing with the recent movement in the Arab world to consolidate the call to prayer through radio broadcasts using a select number of Muezzin (the keepers of mosque minarets who make the five daily calls to prayer) voices; the Lola Arias production Mi Vida Después (My Life After), which is a dramatization of materials gathered about the complex personal lives lived by Argentines of the generation of the parents of today’s thirty-ish generation; a “deepblue” performance titled you are here that considers theater itself through an analogy of a black box that stores past memories and the possibilities of the future; a work titled Lingering of an earlier event by Norway-based Iranian choreographer Hooman Sharifitha depicting a nation in which the lack of a concept of time allows the coexistence of opposing elements; and a work called Moscow by the Belgian multimedia artist group Berlin that creates documentary/theatrical installation works in cities around the world.
Steirischer Herbst means the autumn (festival) in Steiermark ((Styria). It is held each year in the city of Graz, capital of the Austrian state of Steiermark, as a comprehensive arts festival presenting works of wide-ranging genre, from theater and music to architecture, literature and the visual arts. Along with the Brussels Kunsten Festival des Arts (KFDA) , it is a festival devoted to the presentation of new works with special efforts in the areas of collaborative and commissioned works, an especially large number of them being world premieres and premieres in the German-speaking world. Since 2006 the festival director is Veronica Kaup-Hasler.