10 years redefining arts – this is the slogan of this year’s Donaufestival. For the past ten years Thomas Zierhofer-Kin has been curating this avant-gardist festival and has made it one of the most renowned festivals for contemporary art, music, theater and performance in Austria and one might even say in Europe. Every year since 2004 he has made it possible for great artists to come to the picturesque town of Krems in Lower Austria and present their work.
For everyone who doesn’t know Krems: it is a lovely town about 70km west of Vienna with about 24 000 inhabitants. Despite its size the city offers a wide range of educational and cultural activities, eg. a caricature museum, Kunsthalle Krems, the numerous events at the Kino (cinema) im Kesselhaus as well as the Kontraste Festival, Glatt & Verkehrt Festival, Imago Dei etc.
Before I tell you about this year’s program I want to tell you that I love art and music of every sort, but why I really enjoyed going to Donaufestival over the past couple of years is that I knew hardly any of the artists performing or exhibiting which made the festival an even greater adventure. I remember going to a hilarious and philosophical theater performance called “Shrimp Tales” by the Dutch theater group Hotel Modern. The stars of this production were, you won’t believe it, actual shrimps – dead preserved shrimps to be precise. 400 of them portrayed the “fascinating plague that calls itself mankind”.
Another great discovery was the DJ The Gaslamp Killer from California. His performance and his energy were mind-blowing and his mixes included every music genre you can think of which was really refreshing.
Back to this year’s festival: what’s to be expected from April 25 to 26 & April 30 to May 3?
Jon Hopkins will be bringing a new audio-visual set to Krems. One of the most influential and innovative DJ duos of the past 20 years Mouse on Mars will be performing live, probably promoting their latest release “Spezmodia” for the Modeselektor run label Monkeytown. Many will also be looking forward to Austria’s star of electronic avant-garde Christian Fennesz and his brand new album "Bécs".
An interesting and provocative “performance” will be the "Human Zoo" by God’s Entertainment. By locking up real people in real cages God’s Entertainment consciously confirm and enhance all potential clichés a spectator may have and by doing so start interrupting the cycle of stereotyping. “God’s Entertainment are working with the hypothesis that social and material control and order mechanisms undergo a transfer from animal to human. It’s not a long way from pigeon spikes and nets to park benches that homeless people are no longer allowed to sleep on. Obstructions against humans’ presence – or, as in the zoo, to prevent flight – remain almost invisible, but as such could hardly be any more brutal.” (Kampnagel Hamburg)
Check out the entire festival program in English and German online at www.donaufestival.at . The festival will be taking place from 25.-26.4. and from 30.4.-3.5.2014 in Krems in Lower Austria.