Interruption. Irritation. Disruption. Words that used to belong to the basic vocabulary of artistic strategies are cast in a new light after one-and-a-half years of paralysis. When activities can only take place in digital emergency formats, or not at all, then subversive gestures and the pursuit of new horizons might just run into thin air. Instead, these days we are striving for continuity, for connections and the potentials of new contexts, and – above all – for real encounters. 

In The Year Of The Metal Ox means a state of emergency – and perseverance at once. New hopes, new fortunes. The title of donaufestival 2021 refers to the Chinese zodiac sign for the same year, which is still swaying under the spell of a pandemic. It knows no outside, but does not affect us all in the same way. Rather, it has escalated social breakpoints and provoked unimagined artistic approaches to corporeality and technology, intimacy and collectivity.

In the video work Untitled (Wave) by Anne Imhof, for example, a woman incessantly whips the ocean, waves breaking without end. The Canadian musician Kìzis (who will perform in Krems with a string quartet) charges her carefree, opulent music with diverse guest musicians to create the premonition of a coming queer folk at home in both the indigenous and technopop-affine. In their performative installation Upstairs Geology 50/50 Ira Melkonyan & the rubberbodies collective devise a fragile construction full of moving liquids, which literally leaks and flows, seemingly beyond any human control.

This work (along with performances by Girl Band, UCC Harlo, DEATHPROD, Rosa Anschütz, Robert Henke, or an A/V premiere by Jung an Tagen and Rainer Kohlberger) was already planned for the 2020 festival edition. Now we are happy to announce that we can catch up on it and other parts of the programme. Finally! 

They will be joined by an array of new discoveries, such as the Kenyan extreme noise duo Duma, the project by Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden, who together form the slightly enraptured electro act Lost Girls, the Angolan Kudoro rhythms inspired, piercing rap of Nazar, or the Austria premiere of the London-based band Black Country, New Road.

Not only this band venerates the ideals of the collective and cultural exchange. This comes at just the right moment. To finding ourselves with others in a shared space. Ready to be stirred and moved. Open for the sounds and images, the experiences and sensations that can make a difference.

We’re looking forward to spend two fantastic weekends with you once again,

the donaufestival team


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