Weltmaschine : Österreich
A festival of Literaturhaus Graz and steirischer herbst ’19


Literaturhaus Graz

Production specifics
Concept: Klaus Kastberger

The Life and Adventures of GL installation: Ekaterina Degot and David Riff with Lívia Páldi

There is a prevailing notion that Austrian literature, even works postdating 1945, has been dominated by the trauma of the collapse of the Danube monarchy—a consequence of the Habsburg’s former mythic status. A number of characteristics still ascribed to Austrian literature support this thesis. They include an unwillingness to address current political situations or the recent past, a preference for avant-garde techniques and self-reflection over realistic narratives, and a specific quality of voice that is poised between seriousness and irony and difficult for those living beyond the country’s borders to comprehend. Were these clichés ever really grounded in truth? Or was the debate surrounding the quirks of Austrian literature and culture—which extended to the widely received exhibition Austria im Rosennetz (1996)—simply a marketing strategy, which from the early 1970s onward helped establish Austrian authors on the international German-speaking market? The literary scene in Graz played a particular role in this context.

This festival explores the inner workings of Austrian literature under the title Weltmaschine : Österreich, which references a kinetic sculpture originally built by local farmer Franz Gsellmann and later known as the “world machine” or Weltmaschine. The festival itself is structured like a gearbox. Specific components of Austrian literature are isolated and examined within their respective functional contexts, and the discussions are intended to carry on without reaching a standstill. The festival echoes Gsellmann’s motivation and hope of waking up one morning to find something that the machine had produced by itself in his absence. 

3.10., 9:00–16:30
Trip to the apartment of Marianne Fritz in Vienna

3.10., 18:00
Guided viewing of The Life and Adventures of GL (2019)

3.10., 19:00
Grand Hotel Abgrund: Mit Georg Lukács zu Karl Kraus
With György Dalos, Wolfgang Müller-Funk, Katharina Prager, and Franz Schuh
Introductory remarks by Klaus Kastberger, Ekaterina Degot, and David Riff
Moderated by Daniela Strigl

3.10., 21:00
Boris Ondreička, The Abyss (2019)

4.10., 14:00–17:00
Trip to Gsellmann’s Weltmaschine in southern Styria

4.10., 18:00
Gsellmann’s Weltmaschine

4.10., 20:00
Weltmaschine Österreich
With Wiebke Porombka, Daniela Strigl, Philipp Theisohn, and Daniel Wisser
Moderated by Klaus Kastberger

5.10., 15:00
Weltmaschine Graz

5.10., 17:00, 18:00–19:30
Akademie des Verschwindens (Academy of Disappearance)

17:00 beginning of transport of materials to Literaturhaus Graz
18:00–19:30 concluding event at Forum Stadtpark

30.9.–5.10., 10:00–17:00
Akademie des Verschwindens
Literaturhaus Graz, Projektraum, 1st floor
Closed on 3.10.

5.10., 20:00
Roboter mit Senf: The Literary Show