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Opening the festival weeks with “Art, Politics and Activism”

Opening the festival weeks with “Art, Politics and Activism”

In previous versions of the inauguration, it seemed as if “the same 20 voices could always be heard,” “and I asked myself: where are the other two million?” says Milo Rau, who wants to declare a “Free Republic of Vienna.” Opening with the participating acts, which include the musician Queen of Power, Gustav and Voodoo Jürgens, in addition to members of the “Council of the Republic” such as activist Carola Raquette, author Kim de Lorizon, and writer Sybille. Berg wanted to give breadth to the program's content. Musical responsibility for this evening, which is expected to rain according to the current weather forecast, falls to Hervig Zamernik aka Fuzzman, who is also responsible for the various carols that will be played that evening.

“The nice thing about the Free Republic is that we also control the weather, which is possible using chemical compounds,” the musician joked. “Since I am not affiliated with the mainstream, I am happy that the festival dares to present a non-mainstream music program at the opening,” Zamernik said. The declared “Free Republic of Vienna” also includes flags designed by students for the festival weeks and colors such as green (“environmental”), red (“filled with love, socialist”) or pink (“for equality of gender movements”) contain. “We did not want to choose one color of democracy, but rather for all,” he said, describing the repeated comparison with the Palestinian flag as “ridiculous.”

For Vienna City Councilor for Culture, Veronika Kaup-Hassler, the opening is “a preview of a festival that, so to speak, defines the city,” reminding her of the theatrical festivals of antiquity where politics and art were negotiated, but also “a shared space and celebration.” Regarding the discussions that took place in advance about Omri Bohm’s “Address to Europe,” as well as the criticisms directed at Council members such as French Nobel Prize winner in Literature Annie Ernault and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, she said: “We also had difficult discussions in advance, which were “It also created a space to talk and listen,” she said, but her accusation of anti-Semitism “also showed her a society full of fear in many areas, where one also has to say: we have to take fears seriously, but not by blocking all the causes.” Kaub Hassler said in her statement in an interview with APA.

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Bohm is someone who “wants to save the Enlightenment in this century, and also says that we have to move away from pure identity politics, which drives, defines and restricts us in many areas.” Despite previous discussions, the city of Vienna stands by Milo Rau and his program. Regarding Ernault and Varoufakis – neither of whom will be physically present in Vienna – she has “great confidence that the festival weeks, which are completely independent from an artistic standpoint, will use these people in the right context.”

A call for active participation came from Pussy Riot singer Diana Burkut, who said at the press conference: “I think everyone should be active.” However, the public is invited to raise their voices – at the start of Friday, everyone is invited to sing along with the national anthem. By the way, this is also possible while drying in front of the TV: ORF 2 and 3sat will broadcast the opening live from 9:20 pm and will accompany the program in various programs in the coming weeks.

(service – )