In collaboration with “House of Open Gates”, Austrian and international artists set out to investigate the conditions that characterise Graz as a city of immigration.
The Annenviertel district – where the city’s new residents, migrants and asylum seekers find a host of networks that help them find their way around and settle in Graz. Numerous shops, run by migrants, political and cultural associations, sports clubs, religious gathering places as well as educational and social facilities, allow them to keep up their native cultural and language traditions.
“New Graz” brings together a number of artistic initiatives curated and designed in a collective process and aimed at investigating the conditions met by new arrivals in districts such as Annenviertel and cities such as Graz. Artist Jun Yang, for example, explores the experiences and motives of Chinese migrants, while artist Moira Zoitl deals with the question of how West African women cope with the manifold ways of life in Graz and their native countries. In various ways “New Graz” provides a stage for people who at some point in the past set up home here and their narrations of how they were welcomed by the Arrival City. The projects are set to take place at < rotor > centre for contemporary art and the nearby Volksgarten Pavilion.
Thus “Narratives from the Arrival City” takes a clear stance on the current political situation. Despite all efforts to temporarily seal off the country’s borders, there is no denying that Austria has always been a country of immigration. The emergence of urban spaces and the growth of cities in particular are dependent on foreign migration and the project draws on a wide variety of artistic media to remind us once again of this fact.
House of Open Gates
Narratives from the Arrival City
Time for a cup of coffee? Tea? For the duration of the festival the Volksgarten Pavilion opens its doors and turns into a place where everyone is welcome, presenting itself as the exemplary heart of the Arrival City of Graz.
< rotor > centre for contemporary art, not only coined the Annenviertel district’s name, but for years it has also been forging links within and beyond the field of art, by integrating people from a wide range of backgrounds into its programme. In collaboration with steirischer herbst 2016 < rotor > is now expanding its field of work, turning the Volksgarten Pavilion into a “House of Open Gates” where people from all cultures and artistic disciplines can meet to critically discuss existing conditions and conjure up dreams of a life of freedom, justice and solidarity.
The result of a collective process involving artists and people from the neighbourhood, the pavilion is the heart of the Arrival Zone proclaimed by steirischer herbst: A project room for (new) arrivals and long-established residents. Coordinated by Daniela Brasil, the temporary design of the pavilion’s interior offers room to the “Samowar Café” where the elegant teakettle and countless cups of tea invite visitors to engage in a verbal, nonverbal and artistic exchange. This and other events have been organised in collaboration with numerous local organisations and associations. In addition, canapés will be served matching the various projects presented. People fancying a hot meal will be sent out on a culinary tour of the neighbourhood – artists Maryam Mohammadi and Kate Howlett-Jones integrate recipes from women of various backgrounds into the menus of local restaurants and pubs.
Following the “Dance into the Pavilion” on September 25, each week from Thursday to Sunday there will be readings, presentations, games, musical events, workshops and round table talks – always accompanied, of course, by a cup of coffee or tea. You can take a look at the exact timetable here.