The seventh edition of the festival opens in Nordbahnhalle with the Gala stand up: Activist Comedy Against Bullshit, which stages the stories of actors of intersecting social movements, whose struggles against oppressive structures target both gender, racism as well as other exclusions. But don’t worry, it will make you laugh! After the show, we will slowly move to the dance floor to celebrate our politics. The setups will change in between, so you can browse through the Festival Newspaper by Mosaik, and get acquainted with some of the discussions that the coming festival days will bring.
In the nine days that follow, commons and borders will intertwine in many different ways, just as they have been doing in everyday life. Some of the WIENWOCHE projects dig up historical knowledge from layers of “dust” to show how revolutionary forms of political organizing and an economy of redistribution based on equality – such as the Viennese councils between the World Wars – challenged not only imperialist and nationalist concepts of borders, but also societal hierarchies of (gendered) divisions of labor (Pannekoek’s Cat). Find out more about the genealogies and dreams that those experiences of experimentation have created to this day. Not only state but also urban history has been structured on both visible and invisible levels by the profit-oriented means of wall erection. This has been revealed by the city planning of the past (Viennese Linienwall 1704–1894) and its interconnected present-day infrastructure (Wiener Linien). However, these local borders are rejected by citizens' actions (Wiener Linien Bau).
To contribute to the vision of a city in which public space is a public good, and thus belongs to everyone, it is important to contest not only gender but also age-based boundaries (AAA!). As exclusions based on gender and sexuality often interlock with fictional constructions of “race,” boundaries must be dealt with in their complexity. To do so, the festival has set up a wrestling ring and invites you for “A Punch Below The Belt”. Furthermore, post-migration stories of different generations reveal the effects of these interlocking power mechanisms, showing contradictions: right-wing ideology almost successfully attempts to gorge the migrant mind (Kreuzpunkt).
In recent years, refugees have become a significant “topic” for local art and cultural production. However, they are rarely given the stage for prominently speaking about their own biographies (A Stateless Person). Working with locals, along with asylum seekers as researchers and curators, WIENWOCHE 2018 continues its tradition of political interventions in museum displays: “I stood at the seashore naked and I cried” is the opening sentence of the national narrative rupture in the permanent collection of the Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art in Vienna; the project “The Shores of Austria” unmasks the proximity of Frontex in the heart of the Central European metropolis. However, the difficult topic of war as the producer of people in flight has generally seen much less discussion, when not censored, in the art field in recent years, especially when it comes to the complicity between art-making and war-making businesses (curating war).
To prepare for the ten festival days before and during the festival, WIENWOCHE along with Hans-Jürgen Poëtz, asks: “The question is: Who cares?”. Where does the border (of caring) in one's own mindset begin; where does it end; and how can public space, to which we have less and less access, become a projection surface for asking these important questions?
The border and the commons will come together with the ideas and projects, which have something of the spirit of constructivist avant-garde: the Miniature Factory born in Belgrade on the “Balkan route” moves to the heart of Vienna, Favoriten, to show that although Austria has been trying to seal the “route” – the productive no-border ideas of work and emancipation cannot be stopped. The Miniature Factory also demands a six-hour work day for us here (Mini Plant). In addition to the open call for projects of past years, WIENWOCHE 2018 will gather artists and activists once again this year in an experimental open project (working group), which has been created as a performative social experiment that anyone can join to research, reflect and perform on the topics of labor migration and precarity departing from Kafka’s unfinished work, Amerika (K in summer camp).
For WIENWOCHE: Nataša Mackuljak and Ivana Marjanović
The curatorial team since 2016