Statement by Thomas Edlinger about the Reader

Update May 11:

Statement by Thomas Edlinger
Sale of the Reader discontinued

After the events of the last few days, I would like to make a statement to the public: After a long meeting with my team, we decided yesterday to stop the sale of the donaufestival Reader 2022 effective immediately. Simultaneously, we are working on providing a free online version of the Reader’s text contributions, with the exception of the text by Karl Bruckmaier. This text should not have appeared in this way and in this form.

I previously knew Bruckmaier primarily as a music-loving author and the author of the book ‘The Story of Pop,’ in which he traced the significance and function of Afrodiasporic music across the centuries and identified it as the mainstay of US-American music and the invention, or more specifically further development of pop music in general. This cultural-historical appreciation of Afrodiasporic culture was the motivation for commissioning a text contribution. This backstory has obviously obscured my clear view of the problematic nature of the text. Now I deeply regret the inadequate and uncritical reading on my part and apologize to everyone. The content and language of the text reproduce a stance that is not compatible with the values of the donaufestival.

It is also important for me to clarify that I was made aware of the problematic nature of the text by several colleagues of the team before its publication. This publication was exclusively my decision. I am sorry that I have damaged the reputation of the festival and I apologize to the entire donaufestival team.

The work on the Reader will change fundamentally. In the future, the selection process of the texts as well as the editorial work will not be done exclusively by me but by a team.

A principle and a stance since the foundation of the donaufestival is to offer a diverse and varied programme and to treat all artists performing at our festival with the utmost respect. The whole team has often received good feedback from the artists, which is why we take the criticism of insufficient institutional care, which has been voiced in recent days, even more seriously. We will continue to deal with this issue in depth in the coming months and will implement concrete measures.

Nevertheless, I hope, that this text will not be the sole remnant of this festival edition and the reader of 2022.

Thomas Edlinger, artistic director donaufestival

Status on May 9:

In the performance of the collective Mai Ling on May 8 an intervention by artists and students participating in the festival took place. The reason was the text "Paint it black" by Karl Bruckmaier published in the donaufestival reader. The artists and students criticized the text, which deals with the history of blackfacing, for being racist and chauvinistic.

We explicitly apologize to all artists and readers we have hurt with the publication and the insufficient reflection. In the future, we will ensure to improve the editorial work and will devise specific steps to pay closer attention to the political implications of the texts. We take the criticism very seriously and see it as a impetus for an institutional learning process.

Thomas Edlinger, artistic director of donaufestival

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