steirischer herbst festival
‘Second Worlds’ – the theme of this year’s steirischer herbst festival in Graz / Austria – sets out in search of cultural, social, political and psychological parallel worlds: as conceptual alternatives, models of thought, levers for a change of paradigm that suddenly allow us to see things differently. This year’s herbst exhibition ‘Second World’ – conceived by the Croatian curator collective WHW – uses the potential of possible and impossible second worlds as a projection surface for an imaginary and political change of perspective – but still firmly rooted in the geopolitical reality of our time.
Second Worlds: in which the past had different consequences and the future does not depend on the present. Parallel worlds, possible worlds, impossible worlds, ideal worlds. Worlds apart, worlds connected. The programme invokes the unrealised possibilities haunting our present day, as well as the realistic dangers that could wipe out any conceivable future. The notion of another world has become largely apocalyptic – a world in the wake of an unimaginable natural disaster, for example, or a human-induced self-destruction with capital as the sole survivor. The geopolitical construction of a second world from the Cold War era, that for decades euphemistically sought to conceal the dark chasm between the First and Third Worlds with the illusion of progress that would, sooner or later, embrace all people, has gone out of fashion. But the inequalities and divisions that it manifested have continued to grow. Only the ideology of economic growth has superseded that of progress.