The region along the Summerauerbahn The festival’s 2023 area of action is the region along the Summerauerbahn. From the urban space of Linz, through the Mühlviertel region, crossing the border into Czech Republic towards České Budějovice and beyond… A winding route as a connecting element between city and countryside.
The path as a metaphor
The railway line, symbolizing a region, serves as a metaphor for a series of challenges in the 2023 festival edition. From public and individual transportation to resource management and the boundaries within people’s minds. It represents the act of traversing, shaping, and reshaping both the landscape and society. It embodies the act of overcoming distances, creating spaces for encounters and dialogue between regions, cultures, and generations. It signifies breaking free and leaving things behind, as well as staying and moving forward. It represents transitions, deceleration, pausing and continuing, something that belongs to everyone and affects everyone. It represents a shared resource.
The view from the train window When looking out of the train window, one traverses a changing landscape from station to station. From Linz Central Station to the first stop in Franckviertel, squeezed between the industrial harbor, the main road, and the voestalpine area. A plain entry and exit point for commuters. Continuing over the old Danube Bridge to Steyregg and Pulgarn, the suburban belt of Linz. To the left and right of St. Georgen an der Gusen, increasingly densely built residential and commercial areas emerge. The urban area, fueled by the expansion of highways and main roads, extends in all directions. A counter-movement to rural exodus has long been in place. Traffic congests the roads. There would be plenty of space on the Summerauerbahn! After St. Georgen, the narrow Gusen Valley leads to Lungitz, untouched nature. Then the wide plains, meadows, and fields until Katsdorf, Wartberg, and Schloss-Haus, with stations and stops on the outskirts or far away from the towns. From Pregarten, through Kefermarkt along the Feldaist, to Lasberg. After about an hour’s journey, the train reaches Freistadt Station, a 45-minute walk from the town. There is a rumor that the carriage owners of Freistadt prevented better connectivity 150 years ago. Finally, Summerau and the view across the border to Horní Dvořiště in Czech Republic.
The region with a unique cultural density
The Mühlviertel region and, in particular, the area along the Summerauerbahn, is an area with numerous cultural initiatives. Some of these initiatives have a history of more than 30 years (such as the Local-Bühne Freistadt and the Heimatfilmfestival Freistadt). These organizations have built structures, venues, networks, and audiences with great dedication. There are also budding and promising elements in the cultural landscape that are still emerging. This unique cultural density serves as the fertile soil for a festival that aims to emphasize regional participation and sees itself as a catalyst. As the festival’s founding generation formulated it 30 years ago, the festival is not meant to be a “showcase of the existing,” but rather an opportunity to leap beyond the familiar local shadows and to spark something new.
The Festival of the Regions is one of the most renowned contemporary art festivals. For 30 years, it has been exploring and conquering a region in Upper Austria biennially. In addition to its programmatic approach of bringing contemporary, critical, and sometimes subversive art outside of cultural centers and into the regions, the festival focuses on strengthening and supporting regional initiatives and involving local people in artistic processes and projects. The festival gladly acts as an educator for project submissions, facilitating connections between artists and local communities.
For this edition of the festival, we especially invite initiatives, associations, activists, and artists from the focal region to contribute with project proposals and ideas. Regional initiatives that do not wish to realize their own projects but are interested in engaging in dialogue and collaboration with artists and the festival are also welcome to contact the festival team.
- Steyregg & Pulgarn
- St. Georgen an der Gusen
- Katsdorf & Lungitz
- Wartberg ob der Aist
- Rainbach im Mühlkreis
- Horní Dvořiště