steirischer herbst ’08
Strategies for Avoiding Misfortune

Veronica Kaup-Hasler

Festival dates

Curatorial team
Chief Dramaturge & Curator: Florian Malzacher

Dramaturge: Kira Kirsch

Curator Visual Arts: Reinhard Braun

Artistic Assistant: Gerda Strobl

Advisory Board: Hannah Hurtzig, Frie Leysen, Berno Odo Polzer, Sergej Goran Pristaš, Georg Schöllhammer, Gesa Ziemer

“‘Strategies for avoiding misfortune’ stands for the sceptical belief in the possibilities of an action. Action between image and deed, post ironic but not un-ironic, active but not activist. Pathos as an everyday reality: It is still about doing something, moving something, changing something. But how can we escape the paralysis of thought and action in view of the claim that the age of (often abused) utopias and grand social visions is a thing of the past? Does our power discernment not hone itself precisely in the little, manageable areas of life?”
—Veronica Kaup-Hasler (original booklet translation)

Strategien zur Unglücksvermeidung (Strategies for Avoiding Misfortune) was the optimistic motto of steirischer herbst ’08. Like to-do lists written in order to master chaos, the leitmotif generated a list of terms, from A as in “accelerate” and B as in “believe” to W as in “wait.” It was accompanied discursively by a “Walking Conference” on five strolls (curated by Florian Malzacher and Gesa Ziemer). The opening took place at the Helmut List Halle with the large-scale installation Volksbad Waagner-Biro-Straße (Waagner-Biro-Strasse Public Baths) as a walk-in sculpture by Steinbrener/Dempf.

The Joanneum, which was unoccupied due to renovation, provided the backdrop for the nomadic festival center by raumlaborberlin, a spectacular architectural explosion inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni’s film classic Zabriskie Point. The festival center hosted events including the film program Der Ruhm des Beliebigen (The Glory of the Arbitrary), curated by Reinhard Braun; the exhibitions Common Affairs (with Ursula Biemann, Claus Föttinger, Josephine Meckseper, and others; curated by Reinhard Braun) and Pop Ark by Noah Fischer; the nonstop performance installation Die Komplex-Nord-Methode (The Complex Nord Method) by SIGNA; and a club and the “bureaucratic enactment” Ersatzherbstlager (Substitute herbst Camp, known as EHL), with “substitute units” for all the program points listed in the areas of visual art, theater, dance, performance, music, literature, film, and theory.

The Austrian premieres included Bleib opus #3 (Stay Opus 3) by Michel Schweizer at the Helmut List Halle, Dance #1 / Driftworks by Eszter Salamon at the Dom im Berg, Poetics: A Ballet Brut by the Nature Theater of Oklahoma at the Schauspielhaus, and Melancholia, an opera in three parts by Georg Friedrich Haas and Jon Fosse, at the Graz Opera.



Festival centre

Theatre / Performance / Dance




Theory / Discourse / Playing Field Research


Festival opening

02.10., 7:30 pm
Steinbrener / Dempf (A) - Volksbad Waagner-Biro-Straße
People Press Play (DK) - Digital Intimacy 


< rotor >, Grazer Stadtgebiet

Andreas-Hofer-Platz, HDA - Haus der Architektur Graz

Camera Austria

Dom im Berg


Festivalzentrum im Joanneum

Forum Stadtpark


Grazer Kunstverein

Grazer Stadtgebiet

Hauptplatz, Gleisdorf


Kunsthaus Graz / Space 04

Kunsthaus Weiz

Kunsthaus Weiz, Künstlerhaus, Hauptplatz, Gleisdorf

Kunstverein Medienturm



Minoriten-Galerien im Priesterseminar


Minoritensaal, Universitätszentrum Theologie, Schauspielhaus Graz, Afro-Asiatisches Institut, ISOP, Chiala Afriqas

Museum im Rathaus Gleisdorf

Neue Galerie Graz

Oper Graz

Schauspielhaus Graz

Stefaniensaal (Grazer Kongress)

Theater am Lend



Program booklet of steirischer herbst 2008: steirischer herbst festival gmbh, steirischer HERBST (Graz: 2008)

steirischer herbst festival gmbh, herbst. Theorie zur Praxis (Graz: 2008)

→  Available here

steirischer herbst, Florian Malzacher, Prawda jest konkretna. Artystyczne strategie w polityce. Podręcznik (Warsaw: Fundacja Nowej Kultury Bęc Zmiana, 2008)

→  Available here

Claus Philipp, Peter Weibel (Eds.), Elfriede Jelinek, Chtistoph Schlingensief, Patti Smith. The African Twintowers (Graz: Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, 2008)

Janez Jansa, Zdenka Badovinac, Blaz Lukan, NAME Readymade (Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija, 2008)

Reinhard Braun, Common Affairs (Graz: Edition Camera Austria, 2008)

Ivana Sajko, Welt retten. Saving the World. Vier Kurzstücke für den steirischen herbst (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh, 2008)