December 13, 2016 / by AFF


Tomas Zierhofer-Kin’s Seminar

‘Innovations in the creative process’, a two-day seminar for theatre producers and art managers, was held on the 5th and 6th of December 2016 on the platform of the Cultural Management Institute. It was led by the new artistic director of the Wiener Festwochen Tomas Zierhofer-Kin. The seminar was dedicated to contemporary methods of producing cultural projects. It was organised by the Aksenov Family Foundation, Avesta Group, International Festival and School of Contemporary Art TERRITORIЯ, and the Moscow Museum of Contemporary Art. The main goal was to develop innovative thinking among the young professionals and to broaden their practical skills through solving pre-modelled problems, such as reframing a project, searching for fresh and relevant formats within cultural practice, and attracting new audiences. The seminar included a master class from Tomas Zierhofer-Kin, an analysis of the leading Russian institutions working with contemporary art and using innovative and interdisciplinary approaches (i.e. the TERRITORIЯ Festival and the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art), and a practical part aimed at analysis of existing projects and possible ways of re-formatting them.

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Zierhofer-Kin studied at the University Mozarteum in Salzburg. Also in Salzburg, he founded the Zeitfluss Festival together with Markus Hinterhäuser, focussing on contemporary music. From 2005 onwards, he was the director of the Danube Festival in Krems. In May of 2017 Zierhofer-Kin will open his first season of Wiener Festwochen, succeeding his friend and colleague Markus Hinterhäuser.

On the first day of the seminar Zierhofer-Kin read a lecture on the principles of working on a festival programme, and spoke about how he renewed a music and theatre festival that was created in mid-20th century and was now trying to gain a new identity. One of his leading ideas is the widening of the borders of theatrical art, which he achieves by involving, among others, visual and performance artists, people working within electronic music and fashion. He sees contemplation of boundaries already passed as no less significant, because in a conservative society such as Vienna those, e.g. national conventions (Zierhofer mentions the de-colonial aspect) and age-related ones, still remain a roadblock for renewal. He had the following to say about the future of Wiener Festwochen: ‘We want to create new formats that would make people more curious about the world as it can be. <...> Wiener Festwochen is an avant-garde happening. But we look to go even further and talk about absolutely new paths to explore. What worries me is that the very idea of art, in this city with a rich socialist tradition, is understood in such a narrow and bourgeois manner.’

Wiener Festwochen is an avant-garde happening. But we look to go even further and talk about absolutely new paths to explore. What worries me is that the very idea of art, in this city with a rich socialist tradition, is understood in such a narrow and bourgeois manner.”

On the second day of the seminar the participants learned about the process of producing such major scale national projects as the Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (delivered by Ekaterina Kibovskaya and Alexey Novoselov) and the Festival and School of Contemporary Art TERRITORIЯ (by Roman Dolzhanskiy and Ekaterina Yakimova). After that, they split into groups to try a study task: attempting to review the key positions of some existing cultural projects such as Archstoyanie, the New Stage of the Alexandrinsky theatre, the Golden Mask, and Long Night of Museums. Group curators specifically invited for the seminar assisted the attendees with developing concepts and presentations. The curators were Anastasia Mityushina, Curator of the public programme at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art; Tatyana Kalinina, Head producer for Aleksandrinsky Theatre; Alyona Yankelevich, Manager of the international department of the Golden Mask Festival, and Dmitry Znamensky, Advisor to the director of the State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO.

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More than 40 young professionals attended the seminar, including graduates from GITIS, the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the Moscow Art Theatre School and Studio, Russian State University for the Humanities, and National Research University – Higher School of Economics (HSE).