steirischer herbst ’20: Paranoia TV
September 24–October 18, 2020
As we approach the halfway point of 2020, sanity seems to slowly be returning to some parts of Europe. Art is even allowed back into people’s lives. In Austria, for instance, galleries reopened at the same time as gardening stores, with museums quick to follow (albeit with baby steps and guide-tape on the floor). Theater lovers are also able to cautiously enjoy performances again, their seats separated by distances equivalent to the size of a small elephant.
Still, many people are scared; paranoid even. Fear of a second wave is fostering an aversion to public spaces, filled with the breath of potentially contagious strangers. On a more fundamental level, we begin to fear that we ourselves might be asymptomatically spreading the deadly virus. Such fears will not disappear any time soon. Imagining that life might never return to normal is hard enough on its own, but to look back on this normalcy from our current post-lockdown perspective is nothing short of horrifying. Clearly, the virus is not to blame for xenophobia, racism masked as a hygienic norm, ubiquitous surveillance, or radical inequality. These phenomena were all part of what was considered “normal.” It is this “normal” that brought us the virus. It is this “normal” that we should fear.
This is the idea behind Paranoia TV, which is the new makeshift name of the interdisciplinary festival for contemporary art otherwise known as steirischer herbst. In these strange and uncertain times, we offer a platform for the uncanny and the unsettling, broadcasting from a dystopian parallel universe, where there is no such thing as reassurance. Social distancing practices are still in place, football games and parties are prohibited, and even the produce in the supermarket has ears. Art is home-delivered, artists have to work from their kitchens, the private sphere has become even more political, and the only way to explore public spaces is by sleepwalking alone. White cubes, expensive shipments, global jet-set travels: might it be that they will not be missed?
So, stay tuned for Paranoia TV, coming to a media outlet near you from September 24 to October 18. We will be airing on a variety of platforms, vehemently fighting off the “normal formats,” and diving headlong into the uncanny valley of lockdown nostalgia. Paranoia TV will hijack the steirischer herbst website, where it will present artist-made talkshows and television series, among other things, as well as live conversations and discussions. Some televised events might spread into interventions in the streets of Graz and its surroundings, while real-life occurrences and performative actions on those same streets might find their way into live broadcasting and news coverage.
In quest of new formats and ways of distribution, Paranoia TV and national public broadcaster Ö1—Europe’s most successful cultural radio program—are collaborating on an unprecedented scale to ensure that Paranoia TV can reach audiences in Austria and beyond. For the complete festival period, the various editorial teams of Ö1 are going to investigate the projects and programs of Paranoia TV, sending out numerous reports in differing forms (radio, online and podcast). Viewers can stay up-to-date on Paranoia TV’s programming through a specially conceived free mobile app.
As the third iteration of steirischer herbst under Director and Chief Curator Ekaterina Degot and her curatorial team, the festival will continue to feature entirely new commissions, directly or indirectly addressing the urgencies and grievances of our time: the new vulnerabilities of gender and age, the comedies and dramas of domesticity, the sudden obsession with classical opera, the choreography of restricted movement, class, money, hugs, the biopolitics of contagion, the self-isolation of white men in sterile autonomy zones, and the hopes for the unexpected future.
Join us for our live opening in Graz on September 24, when Paranoia TV takes to the air, while keeping in mind the famous words of writer and visual artist William S. Burroughs: “Sometimes paranoia’s just having all the facts.”
Artists and collectives contributing to Paranoia TV with newly commissioned works:
Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Jérôme Bel, Neïl Beloufa, Sergey Bratkov, Alexander Chernyshkov, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Josef Dabernig, Nika Dubrovsky & David Graeber, Vadim Fishkin, Dani Gal, Thomas Geiger, Gelitin, Tamar Guimarães in collaboration with Luisa Cavanagh and Rusi Millán Pastori, Rana Hamadeh, Janez Janša, Lina Majdalanie & Rabih Mroué, Michikazu Matsune, Ingo Niermann, Lulu Obermayer, Ahmet Öğüt, Diederik Peeters, Joanna Piotrowska, Alexandra Pirici & Jonas Lund, Hendrik Quast & Maika Knoblich, Judy Radul, Joanna Rajkowska and Robert Yerachmiel Sniderman, Roee Rosen, Susanne Sachsse / Marc Siegel / Xiu Xiu (Jamie Stewart), Igor Samolet, Liv Schulman, John Smith, studio ASYNCHROME, Sung Tieu, Theater im Bahnhof, Christian von Borries, Clemens von Wedemeyer, and Anna Witt.
With conversations convened by Herwig G. Höller, Srećko Horvat, Adam Kleinman, Milo Rau, and Hito Steyerl, amongst others
Paranoia TV design: Grupa Ee
Special partners: Ö1/ORF Steiermark, Forum Stadtpark, Literaturhaus Graz, Oper Graz
Curatorial group: Mirela Baciak, Ekaterina Degot (Chief Curator), Henriette Gallus, Dominik Müller, Christoph Platz, David Riff