»Terrorists and politicians of all stripes are increasingly creating a theatre of fear in which we are not confronted with a concrete danger, but rather with a potential danger. This has consequences – for us personally and for the way we shape our society.«

This omnipresent staging of fear and anxiety that artist Dries Verhoeven describes in the above quote has an enormous impact not only on each one of us, but also on the foundations of our society. It destabilises our concept of democracy, and truth and fiction become negotiable in a hazy mist of interchangeability. While inflamed fears hit the emotional heart of society like powerful theatre thunder, real threats with dramatic consequences often only make it to the backstage area in the global theatre of society’s emotions.

The Wiener Festwochen 2018 neither presume to understand the world nor to explain it. We trust in the power of art and the artists who show us other ways of seeing our lives and surroundings as well as presenting an idea of a different world. Art is a mirror that allows us to develop utopias; it gives the necessary courage to spiritually and emotionally discard long-established norms, to defy the dictates of rationality and the mechanisms of perception – and it draws us into the realm of the unspeakable, of magic.

In the course of five weeks filled with world premieres, co-productions and guest performances, artists will inspire us to see the complexity of the world through a different lens. In such diverse genres as theatre, music theatre, performance, visual arts, music, media art and film, art will also animate us to not only dream of a new, different world.

We look forward to spending five weeks of stimulating, exciting art with you.

Yours, Tomas Zierhofer-Kin

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