The title of the exhibition refers to the humanist ideas of Enlightenment being stripped away, it seems, by the rise of a new nationalism, growing populism and increasing xenophobia. The artworks featured illuminate both the hidden foundations of an understanding of national identity based on exclusion and the political, social and economic order responsible for the status quo. Against this backdrop, artists try to open up new spaces of thought and action.
At a time when the values of humanism and emancipation, which Europe seems to take for granted, are shaking in the midst of people in motion, artists envision a world transgressing borders, walls and fences and create trans-national spaces for action and thinking.
The method of governing in which nationalism is closely intertwined with populism, though more virulent in the post-socialist countries, is no longer confined to behind the Iron Curtain. Borders are crossed and closed, throughout the continent. The genie of xenophobia is out of the bottle and looms also in affluent countries as a projection of fear of losing wealth and a comfortable life.
In response, artists from all around Europe strive for a re-entitlement of people, facilitating communication and connectedness through their virtual network, mobilizing the moral and artistic power of civic ideas.
The Alte Post of Vienna, which once served as an agent of change curtailing feudal privileges in communication, provides a space for artists’ visions of an open and inclusive world to overcome nationalistic patterns of thinking and exclusion.
With three days of short and long-form presentations, small-group discussions, panel discussions, artist-projects and keynote-addresses, the Open Forum provides continuous opportunities for conversation and networking from June 3 to 5.
7 p.m.: Performance Universal Anthem, Société Réaliste With: Clemes Salesny & Leo Riegler (musician)
8 p.m.: Perfomance The Winner Takes It All, Dante Buu With: Dante Buu (artist) Free admission