steirischer herbst ’17
Where Are We Now? Retrospective Views, Presentiments & Departures into the Unknown

Veronica Kaup-Hasler

Festival dates

Curatorial team
Chief Dramaturge: Martin Baasch

Dramaturge: Wilma Renfordt

Curator Visual Art: Luigi Fassi

Curator Soundtracks: Norman Palm

Artistic Assistance & Cooperations Visual Arts: Johanna Rainer

musikprotokoll: Susanna Niedermayr, Elke Tschaikner, Fränk Zimmer

“2017—a very special steirischer herbst. Like musikprotokoll, steirischer herbst is taking place for the fiftieth time. Beyond the traditional dictates of celebration and reflection, we want to take this arbitrary timestamp of a big-0 birthday as an occasion reassess herbst itself and what we are doing; to ask all the institutions and artists involved some fundamental questions regarding the role of art in society. This is indeed one of the pressing questions at a time when ‘post truth’ was not only voted word of the year, but also has become a reality in our media-pervaded digital age, resulting in real political facts such as the election of Donald Trump as US president that no one had foreseen.
So what has art been able to accomplish in recent decades that have been increasingly marked by economisation, nationalism and diminishing solidarity? As artworlders, do we ultimately operate in a filter bubble that has absolutely no influence on the reality of society as a whole? Who do we reach with our actions? These are questions that subject the activity of art to self-critical scrutiny and that we should never tire of asking. Constantly in search of answers with shrewdness, charm and audacity.”
—Veronica Kaup-Hasler (original booklet translation)

In 2017, steirischer herbst celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. It was also the final year under Veronica Kaup-Hasler’s twelve-year artistic direction. Where Are We Now? asked the leitmotif, inspired by the late David Bowie. “You cannot ask this question without thinking about what lies behind us and how we ended up at this point—or what might come next, both artistically and politically,” as Kaup-Hasler wrote in her preface to the program booklet. She emphasized in retrospect that her interpretation of the festival has again and again examined “above all … connecting the arts, the equal standing of artistic works in a wide range of different spheres—from music, visual art, theatre, performance, dance and architecture to literature.”

For the opening, the renowned choreographer Mette Ingvartsen experimented at the Helmut List Halle with “sensual, erotic, and social body language.” After years of roaming, the festival center returned to the headquarters of steirischer herbst at the Baroque Palais Attems. In addition to various generally interactive installations and performances (by Yoko Shimizu and Isabel Lewis, among others), the leitmotif was taken up there in a two-day “philosophical canteen” as a “joint attempt to define our position in theory and practice.” The herbst exhibition, Prometheus Unbound (curated by Luigi Fassi), was presented at the Neue Galerie.

The centerpiece of the festival was the first film adaptation of Elfriede Jelinek’s magnum opus Die Kinder der Toten (The Children of the Dead) of 1995—a “ghost novel [that] eloquently debunks undead clichés about Austria and national pathos … on 666 pages” (program booklet)—with members of the Nature Theater of Oklahoma under the direction of Kelly Cooper and Pavol Liska. Work on the project had already been taking place for two years—the film shoots at original locations in and around Neuberg an der Mürz were simultaneously live performances in which visitors were invited to get involved and participate. The film, which premiered at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival in 2019, was probably one of the most complex productions of steirischer herbst.

In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary, the publications Where Are We Now? and the herbstbuch 1968–2017 were also published.


Theater / Dance / Performance / Film

Festival centre / Crossover

Discourse / Literature / Documentary

Die Kinder der Toten

Visual Arts


Festival opening

22.09., 19:30
​Helmut List Halle
Mette Ingvartsen (DK) - to come (extended)

​Helmut List Halle
Die Vögel (Elektro-Brass-Duo) 


< rotor >

Akademie Graz

Camera Austria

Congress Graz, Foyer, Helmut-List-Halle

Congress Graz, Kammermusiksaal

Congress Graz, Kammermusiksaal, Mausoleum, Helmut-List-Halle

Congress Graz, Stefaniensaal

Dom im Berg

Festivalzentrum im Palais Attems

Forum Stadtpark, Festivalzentrum im Palais Attems


Grazer Kunstverein

HDA - Haus der Architektur Graz


Kunsthalle Graz

Kunsthaus Graz / Space 01

Kunsthaus Mürzzuschlag

Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien

Leechkirche, QL-Galerie, Kulturzentrum bei den Minoriten

Literaturhaus Graz, Festivalzentrum im Palais Attems


Neue Galerie Graz




Palais Attems

Schauspielhaus Graz

VAZ Mürzer Oberland

designforum Steiermark, Akademie Graz, Stadtwerke-Haus (Holding Graz)

esc medien kunst labor

the smallest gallery - collaboration space


Program booklet of steirischer herbst 2017: steirischer herbst festival gmbh, steirischer HERBST (Graz: 2017)

steirischer herbst festival gmbh, herbst. Theorie zur Praxis (Graz: 2017)

→  Available here

Martin Behr, Martin Gasser, Johanna Hierzegger (Eds.), herbstbuch. 1968–2017 (Vienna-Graz-Klagenfurt: Styria Verlag, 2017)

→  Available here

Veronika Kaup-Hasler, Christiane Kühl, Andreas R. Peternell, Wilma Rendfordt (Eds.), Where are we now? Positionen zum Hier und Jetzt (Berlin: The Green Box Kunst Editionen Berlin, 2017)

→  Available here

Luigi Fassi (Ed.), steirischer herbst, Der entfesselte Prometheus. Prometheus Unbound (Milan: Mousse Publishing, 2017)

→  Available here