By way of a prelude to the summer, and of a finale to the Festwochen, we had been planning to come together one last time on 20 June to dedicate ourselves thematically and methodologically to space and time, and combine looking back with looking ahead, all from the vantage point of the present. Last Time, This Time, Next Time was the theme that accompanied us through the entire programme of the Festwochen and, on this day, it was meant to serve as a leitmotif: a perception of the timelines of Nature herself, an active awareness of the processes of time. Moments that task us with letting go of things in order to move on, and moments that ask us to pause for an instant in order to reminisce. It is utterly conceivable that another aspect might have surfaced, the fact that, in no time at all, things can turn out quite differently, namely not at all as planned. Ultimately, the months of March and April demanded that we, the Festwochen team, demonstrate an ability to be flexible and intellectually nimble. Rather than putting on a multitude of events on Vienna’s stages and elsewhere, at a moment’s notice we switched to the ‘realm of small gestures’, i.e. references large and small to those sensations that art is capable of evoking: surprise, delight, joy, emotive effects, friction, rebellion, and contradiction.
And yet, one aspect of art was missing the whole time. An essential facet that is impossible to conjure up while held captive by the constraints of physical distancing and the need, instead, to focus on the virtual space: the sense of communality, of getting together, perhaps even of impromptu encounters. Since the collective experience was to have been the main concern of Last Time, This Time, Next Time, on 12 September 2020 we want to make up for lost time. Last Time, This Time, Next Time is an invitation to get together, celebrate, dance, reflect, and discuss. We look forward to a big reunion filled with performances, workshops, talks, and a programme of music as well as a special festival moment in our September programme, to be announced on June 25.