Symposium 2021 EN

25 August – 3 September 2021
Title of this year’s symposium:

Who is »We«?

Regional Identity – Think Bigger!

After our last two symposia, entitled »I am not what I am…or, Humans as victims of their identity« in 2019 and »I, we & the others…or, Nationalism as global narrow-mindedness« in 2020, the title of this year’s symposium continues our thematic focus on the concept of »identity«, and concludes our intended trilogy.

This year, we will examine regional identity as opposed to a more global consciousness and attempt to answer the question of how important it may be to put an open-minded, globally aware perspective above national and ideological principles.

We know from our daily lives how important a sense of belonging and identification is for us humans. Again, and again, history has taught us that ideologies can create rifts within societies, that nationalist currents can lead to radicalisation and end in war, destruction, and annihilation. Inequality, disappointment, and existential hardship serve as catalysts for developments that lead to discord and division within a society and make it impossible to coexist peacefully.

It is vital not to lose sight of the immediate, while also striving to see the bigger picture – that is, first and foremost, we must keep in mind our European core values: humanism, human rights, and fundamental democratic principles.

The current peaceful coexistence in the Western world does not come with a guarantee, and on a global scale, coexisting peacefully remains a utopia.

For this very reason, in our 21st symposium, we want to direct our focus on a more global awareness and express this through the medium of contemporary art. There is hardly a location better suited to this subject matter than Burgenland, which this year celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding, thus providing an impressive example of peaceful coexistence between different ethnic groups. Nevertheless, during this hundred-year history the region has seen its fair share of global conflicts and, as in so many places, National Socialist racial ideology at one time destroyed this coexistence and nearly wiped out entire ethnic groups.

The difference between various ethnicities shows itself through what we have in common, becoming most apparent in language and music. Therefore, from now on, our art symposium will provide more space for our ethnic groups’ various expressions of music, as well as our various languages. However, our goal here is not to showcase tradition and folklore, but to carve out new paths toward their contemporary continuation.

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