steirischer herbst ’12
Truth Is Concrete—Artistic Strategies in Politics and Political Strategies in Art

Veronica Kaup-Hasler

Festival dates

Curatorial team
Chief Dramaturge & Curator: Florian Malzacher

Dramaturge: Kira Kirsch

Curatorial Advisor Visual Arts: Anne Faucheret

Artistic Assistance: Johanna Rainer, Gerda Strobl

“Everything is different this year. No customary opening, no exhibition tour on the first weekend, instead a one-week ‘24/7 marathon camp’ with round-the-clock programme, an overwhelming kick-off. The fact that steirischer herbst is changing markedly, is the result of rapid global changes. The revolution in many Arab countries, the Occupy movements, the massive upheavals and financial disasters in Europe, all together question the role of art. During The many discussions in the course of our research at places where society is now on the move, it soon became clear that artists had played a major role everywhere and from the outset. But it also evolved that the questions as to the role of art itself is much more difficult: Whether or not there can and should be an art that not only observes, comments and documents, but also gets practically involved.”
—Veronica Kaup-Hasler (original booklet translation)

Everything was different in 2012, as Veronica Kaup-Hasler noted at the beginning of her preface to the program booklet. With the title inspired by Walter Benjamin Truth Is Concrete (idea and concept: Florian Malzacher), which was also the leitmotif for the festival, steirischer herbst reacted to the rapid changes, crises, and upheavals around the globe, which inspired movements such as the Arab Spring and Occupy, as well as to the global rise of the populist far right, environmental catastrophes, and huge financial upheavals with a “24/7 marathon camp.”

In response to the statement by the right-wing populist Geert Wilders that art is “a left-wing hobby,” over two hundred artists, scientists, theorists, and activists—including the Colombian philosopher and politician Antanas Mockus, the theorist Chantal Mouffe, and the radical Russian artist group Voina—analyzed artistic strategies in politics and political strategies in art around the clock for one week. The Camp am Opernring consisted of various modules designed by raumlaborberlin: a bar, living room, black cube and white box, video archive, library, radio, hairdressing salon, kitchen, garden, and relaxation areas.

The herbst exhibition, Adaption (curated by Zbyněk Baladrán and Vit Havránek), was also presented at the camp. Furthermore, a grant program enabled one hundred young students, artists, and activists to actively take part in this “temporary living environment” in workshops. The event, which was unique within the framework of steirischer herbst, was accompanied by a separate program booklet and, in 2014, the publication Truth Is Concrete: A Handbook for Artistic Strategies in Real Politics.

Other central program items were the campaign and benefit gala Rebranding European Muslims by the Israeli performance and research group Public Movement, and the lecture performance 33 Rounds and Few Seconds by Rabih Mroué and Lina Saneh, the fictitious court proceedings 1 Hour 18 Minutes by the Moscow-based documentary theater Teatr.doc, Untitled Feminist Show by the American Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and The Insurrected Body by La Pocha Nostra.


Truth is concrete

Witness to the ruins

Donde el tiempo se detiene/ Where time stands still & Holy fire

Some kind of beginning

Truth is concrete

Are you talking to me?

Austrian politics – a crash course for foreigners

Graz in times of revolution

The province and the avantgarde

Protest covered I

Welcome & opening of steirischer herbst festival

The 7th black circle declaration: Europe amongst the ruins

Bogotá change


Everyday rebellion

Tactic talk by Róza El-Hassan (H/SYR)

Hacking media and houses

7 promises

Worthy son of Africa

Awesome tapes from Africa

Daybreak into the city I: Park politics

Renunciation & revolution


Movement. Women power. Bare breasts.

Art and crime. Legally on the edge

Unpleasant cat stories for learning

Random acts: Free Syria air force

General Assembly I

From the individual to the collective

Art as anti-propaganda

Altruism as arttruism

Name readymade

Staging political action

Actions and what we learn from them

Hip hop as a weapon

Magic in interventional politics


The Norwegian way

Spoken karaoke

VJing the revolution (a nostalgia)

Hack the jellyfish: How to mess with reality

Daybreak into the city II: Meet and greet at squatters’ breakfast

Guerilla gardening

The pansy project

The garden of biological disobedience

History of art, according to the resistance

Infiltrate and intercept

The dirty discount revival

Random acts: Reverend Billy & The Church of Earthalujah

General Assembly II

The politics of artistic practices

The art of binationalism

Picasso in Palestine

Protest covered II

Politics: Truth or representation?

Daybreak into the city III: The political in public spaces

Who can still change course?

100 questions I-IV

Action theatre / Théâtre de l’Opprimé

Political spectatorship within and outside the theatre

Legislative Theatre

No time for art?

Random acts: The Haircut Before The Party

General Assembly III

Freethought I: Economy of crisis

The state artist 2012

Enacting populism: On the transformations of myths

Occupy now?

Every city has a soul

Disobedience archive (the free square cinema)

Daybreak into the city IV: Feminist blinking

Who can still change course?

Sound of sirens

Imagens do Povo

Contradictions reconstituted

Welcome to the desert of the real

Random acts: Metropolitan lice

General Assembly IV

Freethought II: Crisis education

CorruptTour.com The first corruption travel agency

Network as a medium of critique and action

The Jessy Cohen project


Methods of social resistance on Russian examples

What is to be done?

Daybreak into the city IV: Listening is a political act

Who can still change course?

Commoning the space


Random acts: Dr D

General Assembly V

Freethought III: Creative strike

Graz choir

Absolute Democracy (Gespräch)

Too many protest singers, not enough protest songs

Where has all the protest gone?

Not PC: Talks and songs

Daybreak into the city VI: Redressing the market

Who can still change course?

Copycats vs Mr Big

Chancellor gone underground

Random acts: Space Hijackers

General Assembly VI

Neither working nor unworking: Contemporary politics of art and labour

Strike: Opera

Crackle of time.

Protest covered III

Instant pocket soap opera



Protest covered IV

Daybreak into the city VII: Russian twilight

Who can still change course?

Leaving the ghetto of art

Collective mapping

Cracking the system

Inflatables for action

Photography, performance and guerrilla tactics of communication against financial abuses

NSK State in Time

Random acts: Brandalism

Final Assembly

Blogs 1-2 Truth is concrete

Randnotizen How to talk about what´s important


Studio 24/7 – Radio

Garden of biological disobedience

Camp Library

The Mobile Archive – Video library

Mobile Salon – Hairdresser

Network map of tactics & Network map of collaborations

Truth in context

The Camp

No revolution without innovation

From Cairo to Graz: The Choir Project

Resistant matters Art, activism and permaculture

Hacking doors & media for fighting housing problems

Strategies of public intervention

How to end evil

Bogotá change - continued

Work in Progress: Everyday Rebellion

Köken Ergun / Carlos Celdran

Syrian Voices


The Pansy Project - Plantings

Binibining Promised Land

Ataya – Tea palaver in the sahelian tradition

Spoken Karaoke II

One way, a Tuareg journey

Legwork Goes Truth is Concrete

Resistance for idiots

Knowledge is Power

Performing Rio de Janeiro: Artistic strategies in times of banditocracy

Three Workshops on Books and Hair

Operation-For something black and hot

We are the Hartmans

The Pinky Show

SOSka group: self organization as survival

Ataya – Tea palaver in the sahelian tradition: On visa issues

Three workshops on books and hair

Dumpster Dinner

Interactive intervention


Trust me I trust you

Three workshops on books and hair 3

Partizaning / Partizaning.org

Speed dating

Performing disobedience in the streets

Concretizing communism. Being-in-common and the worlding force of radical communities


Global stories / Through different eyes

Queer the concrete

Presentation and open discussion

Crackle of time - discussion

Debt Jubilee Rave Ritual

How to lie to tell the truth

Works of Art Academy Students of the International Academy of Art Palestine

Backwards shopping

herbst remixed

Rebranding European Muslims

Konzert zur Benefiz-Gala “Rebranding European Muslims”

Theatre / Performance / Dance





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Akademie Graz

Camera Austria

Camp 2012

Camp 2012, Camp: Living Room

Camp: Black Cube

Camp: Black Cube, Camp: Lailas Bar, Camp: White Box, Camp: Living Room

Camp: Black Cube, Camp: White Box

Camp: Bloghaus

Camp: Bloghaus, Camp: Living Room

Camp: Hall

Camp: Lailas Bar

Camp: Library

Camp: Living Room

Camp: Living Room, Camp: Lailas Bar

Camp: Videoarchiv

Camp: White Box

Camp: White Box, Camp: Black Cube

Camp: Workshop space

Dom im Berg


Forum Stadtpark

Grazer Kunstverein

Grazer Stadtgebiet

Grazer Stadtgebiet, Camp: Black Cube



Klosterwiesgasse 5

Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten

Kunsthaus Graz

Kunstverein Medienturm

Lailas Bar


Pavelhaus / Pavlova hisa

Theater im Bahnhof


Program booklet of steirischer herbst 2012: steirischer herbst festival gmbh, steirischer HERBST (Graz: 2012)

steirischer herbst festival gmbh, herbst. Theorie zur Praxis (Graz: 2012)

→  Available here

Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Life and Times. Episode V (New York: 2012)

→  Available here

steirischer herbst (ed.), September 5th 2120, Prague. Zbyěnk Baladrán & Vít Havránek (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh in collaboration with tranzit.cz, 2012)

steirischer herbst (ed.), Ruti Sela. Images from selected video works (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh in collaboration with tranzit.cz, 2012)

steirischer herbst (ed.), Hafiz. On Sketches & Odyssey (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh in collaboration with tranzit.cz, 2012)

steirischer herbst and Lia Perjovschi (eds.), The Knowledge Museum plan A B C (Graz: steirischer herbst, 2012)

steirischer herbst (ed.), Babi Badalov. Nuage (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh in collaboration with tranzit.cz, 2012)

steirischer herbst (ed.), Ondřej Buddeus. A me (Graz: steirischer herbst festival gmbh in collaboration with tranzit.cz, 2012)