Roman Osminkin
Putsch (After D. A. Prigov)

Performance, Intervention / Commissioned work


Schloßbergplatz, Schloßbergstiege

Production specifics
The performance text includes excerpts of the following poems by Roman Osminkin:
Revolution (Translated by Ian Dreiblatt)
and under stalin, the sun was warm(Translated by Jon Platt)
You Know The Slavs And The Tatars (Chant In Imitation Of D.A. Prigov) (Translated by Jon Platt)
Published in Not A Word About Politics!, Cicada Press. New York, 2016
Übungen im „Uncreative Writing“ (Translated by Günter Hirt and Sascha Wonders)
Published in Schreibheft. Zeitschrift für Literatur, 90, Rigodon Verlag, Essen, 2018

The performance soundtrack includes excerpts from the following music:
Ballet Mecanique by George Antheil. Performed on May 8th 1989 at The Japan American Theatre
Bruder, es ist Zeit by Angelika Sacher and Klaus Bergmaier
Marsch der Antifaschisten by Die Grenzgänger
Yakety Sax by Boots Randolph
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony № 9 in D Minor Op. 125 by Franz Welser-Möst, Cleveland Orchestra. Live recording, 2007

As a poet, Roman Osminkin works with monumental ideological strata. Communism, liberalism, religion, and nationalism all shifted around him drastically and unexpectedly during his formative years after the end of the Cold War and at the outset of a new phase in the culture wars. As such, he continues the tradition of great Russian conceptual poets such as Dmitry Aleksandrovich Prigov (1940–2007). Like Prigov, Osminkin is also a performer working between music and the spoken word. His newly-commissioned, open-air performance takes place on the opening night of steirischer herbst, and is a loose adaptation of Prigov’s 1990 Coup. A Play for Two Loudspeakers. Osminkin’s version is set on Graz’s Schloßbergstiege (Castle Hill Stairs), also known as the “Russian Steps,” or the “War Steps.” The staircase was originally planned before World War I as a scenic ascent to the hill that once housed a Renaissance fortress demolished by Napoleon’s troops. Construction commenced in the middle of the war, with labor supplied by Austrian army sappers and Russian POWs—even though the staircase served no military purpose. Such an entanglement of militarism, national pride, the desire for entertainment and distraction—and the use of cheap foreign labor— resonates strongly with the current political situation. In Osminkin’s work, two loudspeakers compete, shouting equally senseless political statements at one another, while performers on the stairs assemble and disassemble slogans, fragmenting ideological notions into word and letter. Meanwhile, the real audience plays the role of populating an invisible demonstration. An undercover chorus mingling with the crowd on the square in front of the stairs sings revolutionary songs and folk tunes in German, Russian, and Slovenian, reminding us of the checkered historical background of this iconic touristic attraction.

Concept and realization: Roman Osminkin
Artistic collaborator: Anastasia Vepreva
Text: Roman Osminkin after D. A. Prigov's Coup. A Play for Two Loudspeakers
Translation from Russian: David Riff

First loudspeaker: Didi Bruckmayr
Second loudspeaker: Susanne Gschwendtner
Sound recording: Laura Strobl
Sound mixing and editing: Anastasia Vepreva
Mastering: Martin Siewert

Stanislaw Katz: Andri Schenardi
Choir participants: Zaid Alsalame, Torben Folger, Katharina Grilj, Bianca Hanžel, Heinrich Holzner, Maggie Midea, Yasmin Mowafek, Michaela Purgstaller, Clarissa Rêgo Teixeira, Cornelia Weixler
Performance participants: Gregor Aistleitner, Adna Babahmetović, Giovanna Cassavia, Ema Drnda, Nera Džanić, Christa Ecker-Eckhofen, Clara Frühwirth, Daniela Gutmann, Julian Gypser, Philipp Kipke, Andrea Kurtz, Roja-Petra Orthaber, Vera Posch, Leonhard Rabensteiner, Izabella Radić, Felix Scheuer, Brigitta Wallgram
Choreographic support: Samuel Kirschner
Choir coordination: Clarissa Rêgo Teixeira