Vienna: “Universal Hospitality”. Exhibition and Open Forum

Universal Hospitality” is this year’s “Into the City”-event of the Wiener Festwochen, the big Vienna Festival in spring. “Universal Hospitality” consists of an exhibition and an open forum for discussions and networking. The programme relates to the current massive migration movements. The title refers to the humanist ideas of Enlightenment being stripped away, it seems, by the rise of a new nationalism, growing populism and increasing xenophobia.



The artworks featured illuminate both the hidden foundations of an understanding of national identity based on exclusion and the political, social and economic order responsible for the status quo. Against this backdrop, artists try to open up new spaces of thought and action.

25 May to 19 June 2016, daily 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Free Admission

Alte Post
Dominikanerbastei 11
1010 Vienna

Opening: 24 May 2016
7 p.m.
Performance Universal Anthem, Société Réaliste
With Clemes Salesny & Leo Riegler (musician)
8 p.m.
Perfomance The Winner Takes It All, Dante Buu
With Dante Buu (artist)

At a time when the values of humanism and emancipation, which Europe seems to take for granted, are shaking in the midst of people in motion, artists envision a world transgressing borders, walls and fences and create trans-national spaces for action and thinking.

The method of governing in which nationalism is closely intertwined with populism, though more virulent in the post-socialist countries, is no longer confined to behind the Iron Curtain. Borders are crossed and closed, throughout the continent. The genie of xenophobia is out of the bottle and looms also in affluent countries as a projection of fear of losing wealth and a comfortable life.

In response, artists from all around Europe strive for a re-entitlement of people, facilitating communication and connectedness through their virtual network, mobilizing the moral and artistic power of civic ideas. The Alte Post of Vienna, which once served as an agent of change curtailing feudal privileges in communication, provides a space for artists’ visions of an open and inclusive world to overcome nationalistic patterns of thinking and exclusion.

Edit András, Birgit Lurz, Ilona Németh, Wolfgang Schlag

Catherine Anyango, Anca Benera / Arnold Estefan, Songül Boyraz, Dante Buu, Nicos Charalambidis, Anetta Mona Chişa / Lucia Tkáčová, Mansour Ciss, András Cséfalvay, Anna Daučíková, Yevgeniy Fiks, Petra Gerschner, GLUKLYA / Natalya Pershina-Yakimanskaya, Núria Güell, Sanja Iveković, Gülsün Karamustafa, Szabolcs KissPál, Martin Krenn, Tomasz Kulka, Damian Le Bas, Delaine Le Bas, Lőrinc Borsos, Victor López González, Angela Melitopoulos, Marina Naprushkina, Csaba Nemes, Adrian Paci, Martin Piaček, Lisl Ponger, Tomáš Rafa, R.E.P. Group, Oliver Ressler, Mykola Ridnyi, Juri Schaden, Marika Schmiedt, Roland Sejko, Tim Sharp, Société Réaliste / Ferenc Gróf, Hito Steyerl, Toledo i Dertschei, Artur Żmijewski and others


Open Forum

With three days of short and long-form presentations, small-group discussions, panel discussions, artist-projects and keynote-addresses, the Open Forum provides continuous opportunities for conversation and networking.

3, 4 June 2016, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.,
5 June 2016, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Angewandte Innovation Laboratory
Franz-Josefs-Kai 3
1010 Vienna

The Open Forum is dedicated to the factors underlying displacement and migration and discusses strategies so as to react to the resulting societal dynamics in Europe. NGOs, civil-society and artistic initiatives and institutions as well as artists and activists from various European countries present their methodological and practical approaches to this issue. Through an exchange of knowledge with persons who have arrived in Europe, they attempt to generate a shift of perspective regarding migration as a central force of social change. Experts from a great variety of fields highlight the most topical questions in keynote presentations.

Check the full Programme.

Initiated by ERSTE Foundation.

photo: Petra Gerschner, Brenner April 2016