NEW VISIONS, EXCITING EXPERIENCES – Successful conclusion to Sommerszene 2018: Final report, 16th June 2018
“The audience’s reception for the pieces that had chosen social and political issues currently under debate was particularly strong. There was clearly a strong interest in work that also took up new and pronounced artistic positions. A festival can never offer entirely unambiguous answers to global questions, but it can reveal new approaches to the arguments. I am also particularly pleased that we also managed to present acclaimed productions by Mette Ingvartsen, Eko Supriyanto and apap artist Marta Górnicka for the first time in Austria,” says Artistic Director Angela Glechner summing up the success of her festival.
Around 11,000 visitors attended the 13 productions of this year’s Sommerszene. With over 7,000 visitors ‘Of All The People In All The World’ in the Kollegienkirche became a magnet for festival audiences: in a manner that was both poetic and sensual the British artists’ collective Stan’s Cafe made the unimaginable imaginable by transposing global and regional statistics and up-to-the-minute events into an installation with several sections consisting of five tonnes of rice. As part of the project the rice will be put to further use ethically, with Sommerszene donating it to VIEW (Verein Initiative Ethisch Wirtschaften – the Association for Ethical Economic Initiatives).
However, the audiences also responded with considerable interest to artistic positions presented on topics of gender and sexuality: Mette Ingvartsen opened Sommerszene with her concentrated and high-energy choreography ‘to come (extended)’ and also gave a memorable account in her solo piece ‘21 pornographies’ of the sexualisation of society and the power of the images, norms and standards associated with this that extend deep into people’s private lives. In Eko Supriyanto’s „Balabala” five young female dancers showed remarkable presence while breaking with traditional gender roles by interpreting battle and war dances from their homeland that have traditionally been reserved for men. Also appearing in Austria for the first time, apap artist Marta Górnicka presented her own manifesto against gender stereotypes and clichés with ‘Magnificat’. Together with a chorus of 23 women she created a soundtrack of protest that was as strongly poetic as it was political. Queer perspectives and sensual interpretations were prominently featured by Georg Klüver-Pfandtner with his installation ‘(empty) space – Vom Leben, der Verzweiflung’ and apap artist Gérald Kurdian’s ‘HOT BODIES – STAND UP’ about the sexual revolutions of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Not only the performances reflected a renewed interest in contemporary possibilities – invitations to explore the issues more deeply in discursive lectures by distinguished academics and illuminating introductions and artists’ talks were also enthusiastically received.
“My key aim was once again to draw attention to the diverse local scene by working with local artists,” says Artistic Director Angela Glechner. Little-known places off the beaten tourist track could be discovered on the city tour ‘Stranger Home’ by the collective of Salzburg artists gold extra, that tests people’s knowledge and sense of direction in amusing ways. The established co-operation with SEAD continued, with the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance opening its doors for a celebration of dance in ‘100 invasions ... bodies matter’. The Salzburg-based Indian choreographer Nayana Keshava Bhat also presented a theatrical, performative and comic journey between dreams and memories in the ‘Room of Inevitable End’.
Visitors to Andy Field’s ‘Lookout’ at the Hohensalzburg Castle were able to look out over the city and the future that developed possibilities for an urban space worth living from conversations with children. “Visiting performances from representatives of a younger generation of performers working internationally such as Andy Field from Britain, but also the Belgian apap artist Sarah Vanhee and the Austrian-Spanish duo Laia Fabre and Thomas Kasebacher of notfoundyet, who had already captivated Salzburg audiences last year, once again evaluated the boundaries of social codes in a clever and amusing manner,” said Glechner.
Viennese artist Julius Deutschbauer followed the whole of this year’s programme, reacting in his blog, which can be read here, to all the performances with sharp texts and literary references from his festival library of 120 books.
SZENE’s chairman Peter Hofer also drew enthusiastic conclusions: “One of my friends just told me: ‘Everything used to be better before: You could still see new things them. Have exciting experiences. Get blissfully annoyed. Be wonderfully provoked. And be amazed’ This year’s Sommerszene proves that he’s wrong. This summer Angela Glechner has accomplished something remarkable: she’s managed to conjure amazement on to the faces of us hardened consumers of culture. Thank you!”
Sommerszene 2019 will take place from 14th to 29th June.