Festival of Regions – Site-specific Art and Culture
The Festival of Regions has been taking place biennially since 1993 at changing locations in the Austrian federal state of Upper Austria (Capital: Linz) and, during this period, has developed into a contemporary focal event for current, site-specific art and culture.
At the intersection of art and everyday life, the Festival‘s projects draw people and places into a critical engagement with social, political and artistic questions. Outside the centres, the Festival of Regions combines contemporary cultural work and art forms with local histories, problematics and idiosyncrasies.
The Festival of Regions presents exclusively projects produced especially for the festival and orients itself internationally toward a contemporary concept of culture which comprises art, social research and social practices as well as links with everyday culture and interdisciplinary co-operation. The declared aim is to intensify the engagement with contemporary art and culture outside the metropolitan centres through the collaboration of artists and cultural workers with local cultural initiatives and the populace.
For each Festival of Regions, the board and the festival director work out a theme in which socio- political, aesthetic and regional questions are interlinked. In the preliminary phase there is a public announcement of the theme and a call for submissions along with a specification of one or several focal regions within Upper Austria. Cultural workers in all areas of society without restriction are invited to submit projects for development. The social origin, location and place of residence of those participating are put aside as criteria in favour of the quality of the proposed projects and their expected relevance for both the public and culture professionals. The board and director of the Festival of Regions, with the assistance of an independent, international program advisory council, make a preliminary selection. Building upon this preliminary selection, the program is designed by the festival director in collaboration with local partners. Direct invitations and project commissions after concluding the public call for submissions complement and extend the program.
Themes 1993 – 2011:
1993 “Das Fremde” (the other / the stranger / the unfamiliar)
1995 “Heisse Heimat” (hot home / native country / hometown)
1997 “Kunst.Über.Leben – Entdeckungsreisen zu Alltagswundern” (a journey to everyday wonders)
1999 “Randzonen” (marginal zones)
2001 “Das Ende der Gemütlichkeit” (the end of congeniality)
2003 “Die Kunst der Feindschaft” (on the art of enmity)
2005 “Geordnete Verhältnisse / Ordered States”
2007 “Fluchtwege und Sackgassen / Exits and Dead Ends”
2009 “Normalzustand / Normality
2011 „Umsteigen / Change Over“
In realizing the projects, the maximum possible active participation of locals and direct communication between the project initiators and their local partners have priority for the Festival of Regions. The independent association, Festival of Regions, with financial support mainly from the State of Upper Austria, the art section of the Federal Chancellor’s office of the Republic of Austria, the city of Linz and sponsors, is responsible for the overall festival program.
Numerous projects in the history of the festival have turned out to be exemplary for present-day forms of location-specific art and culture, art in public space, everyday culture, performance and participatory practice, the festival program including elaborate large-scale projects as well as transient interventions and social processes. The increasingly nationwide orientation and the incorporation of cultural workers internationally has extended the festival’s radius of action without prejudicing its original aims: decentralized orientation, contemporary relevance of a high quality and impulses for change.