steirischer herbst ’09
All the Same—What Is Valid If Everything Is Valid?

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

“Fortunately, organising a festival is not a rhetorical undertaking but rather a concrete process. And so, based on the theme of ‘All the Same’, the 2009 steirischer herbst plays with this notion in all its connotations—from indifference as lack of interest to equality as utopia and everyday challenge. The two-year ‘Utopia and Monument’ exhibition project examines the question as to validity of art in an increasingly privatised and monitored public space. The title itself provocatively puts two concepts up for discussion that have fallen somewhat into disrepute. This herbst exhibition plays a special role in this year’s programme, on the one hand because numerous new artistic works have again been specially developed for the festival. On the other hand, it focuses among other things on the Lend district in Graz, which is currently undergoing major renewal.”
—Veronica Kaup-Hasler (original booklet translation)

With the ambivalent leitmotif All the Same, steirischer herbst ’09 played with all the meanings of the term gleichgültig—from Gleichgültigkeit, or “indifference,” to Gleichberechtigung, “equal rights,” both as a utopia and a requirement for everyday life. The question of the validity of art in increasingly privatized and monitored public spaces was addressed by the exhibition project Utopie und Monument (Utopia and Monument; curated by Sabine Breitwieser), which was divided up over two years and whose title provocatively put up for discussion two terms that had come into disrepute.

The focal point of the program was the herbst exhibition, with numerous site-specific works and a focus on the city district of Lend, which was in a state of radical change. In comparison to projects such as Bezugspunkte 38/88 (Points of Reference 38/88), which twenty years earlier had made use of public space to process Graz’s Nazi history, hardly any of the rather subtle interventions—including works by Nairy Baghramian, Ayşe Erkmen, John Knight, and Andreas Siekmann—had any real potential to provoke.

The Orpheum, which is also located in Lend, formed another focus, and with its extension, Schauhaus 09, designed by the architect Michael Rieper, became the festival center with a bar and lounge. The documentary play Radio Muezzin by Stefan Kaegi/Rimini Protokoll, the video program Die Krise der Gleichheit (The Crisis of Equality; curated by Maria Morata and Reinhard Braun), and the Austrian premieres of Void Story by the British theater group Forced Entertainment, Yo en el futuro (Me in the Future) by Federico León, and Mi vida después (My Life After) by Lola Arias were presented there as the opening production. The actual opening took place at the Helmut List Halle, which had been transformed into a Tempel der Vernunft (Temple of Reason), a “crisis-stricken total art work” [sic] by raumlaborberlin, Theater im Bahnhof, and steirischer herbst.



Festival centre

Theatre / Performance / Dance



Theory / Discourse / Playing Field Research

Literature / Book

Children / Young People

Festival opening

24.09., 7:30 pm
raumlaborberlin (D), Theater im Bahnhof (A) & steirischer herbst - Temple of Reason
Phantom Ghost (D) - Thrown out of Drama School 


Camera Austria

Caritas Senioren- und Pflegewohnhaus Graz - St. Peter

Dom im Berg


Festivalzentrum im Orpheum

Festivalzentrum im Orpheum, TaO! Theater am Ortweinplatz

Forum Stadtpark

Grazer Annenviertel, < rotor >

Grazer Kunstverein

Grazer Stadtgebiet

Heimatsaal im Volkskundemuseum


Kindermuseum FRida & freD, Festivalzentrum im Orpheum

Kunsthaus Graz / Space 02

Kunstverein Medienturm



Minoriten-Galerien Graz

Minoritensaal, Mariahilfer Kirche

Pavelhaus / Pavlova hisa

Theater im Bahnhof


Öffentlicher Raum Graz

Öffentlicher Raum Steiermark


Program booklet of steirischer herbst 2009: steirischer herbst festival gmbh, steirischer HERBST (Graz: 2009)

steirischer herbst festival gmbh, herbst. Theorie zur Praxis (Graz: 2009)

→  Available here