Between 28th of June and 07th of July 2019, the Creative Europe project Centriphery had its first station at the Festival der Regionen, Austria in the region Perg-Strudengau. To reach a high level of participating citizens, and ensure inclusion and accessibility on various levels, the project was designed and executed on highly interconnected layers, including multiple collaboration workshops.
The core of the project is dealing with local traditions, narratives and myths and how they interconnect with today’s realities and future narratives for the region and the European Union.
Centriphery consisted of four interconnected main projects:
– Genau! / Ondamarela (PT) und Tim Steiner (GB)
– Wärmegreißlerei / Time’s Up (AT)
– Volxfest / Teresa Distelberger und Simon Mayer (AT)
– RADschen Wanderung / Conny Zenk (AT), Cornelia Scheuer (AT), Gustavo Ciríaco (PT) und Kalin Serapionov (BG)
Beside the projects the opening day and the opening concert also created an interaction between all elements of Centriphery.
Different pop-ups of the individual projects appeared already in the afternoon in diverse places in the citycenter of Perg.
Sound elements of Bike Ratchet Hike and a strong visual appearance were integrated into the concert, as well as an intensive dance element, which was presented by Volxfest.
During the opening day and prior to the concert the special waggon of Wärmegreisslerei was present in the public space.
GENAU – The Grand opening / Ondamarela (PT) and Tim Steiner (GB)
The celebratory opening was created by Ondamarela and the people of the region. An orchestra – formed in numerous workshops with Tim Steiner and Ricardo Baptista and local experts in the months leading up to the Festival – consisting of local residents, or Citizen Artists, brought together people of all ages and cultural backgrounds with and without previous musical training and with different experiences and abilities on stage.
The concert was a hymn to the region and paid tribute to the creativity of the citizens.
The concert consisted of a unique composition, which was being developed, composed, and improvised with the orchestra and choir members. Music and texts were composed and written in collaboration with the participants.
Wärmegreißlerei (Warmth-Kiosk) – A mobile installation / Time’s Up (AT)
Developed through a series of Workshops in schools, city councils, socially engaged associations with local experts and citizens of the region, Wärmegreißlerei looked at existing models of Social Warmth, which was the theme of the festival, as well as developed future models with the participants. It also looked at the negative effects the lack of social warmth could have on a society and which effective counter-perspectives could exist.
These questions were studied both in the preparatory workshops as well as during the entire festival, where the project was present on a daily basis in different parts of the region.
The results of the preparatory workshops, as well as the material generated during the festival are being analysed and collected and will be handed over to local politicians in September, as a catalogue of the citizens’ wishes for the social and cultural development of their region, using the knowledge of the many for the well-being of everyone.
Volxfest (Folkfest) – A celebration / Teresa Distelberger and Simon Mayer (AT)
In an atmosphere that playfully revitalizes traditional cultural assets such as folk dance, folk music or traditional folk-costumes, declaring them to be fields of experimentation, we celebrated, dance and approaches to folk art as a spaces for freely developing creative expression.
In a series of preparatory workshops with local experts and citizens engaged in folk dance, folk music and the traditional local for costumes an evening was developed which included include the music ensemble “Aasgeiger”, regional Schuhplattler dancers, as well as hip hop renditions of folk dance, gregarious round tables, and the Quetschenteufel & Kuschelkrampus.
Local citizens presented their traditional costumes, especially created for this evening.
At the bonfire local stories were told about the Jägerwirt and its innkeeper, about Dirndl dresses from the Jewish traditional garb manufacturer Wallach, also connecting these with their role at the times of the rule of national-socialist in Austria/Germany.
Banda Adriatica from southern Italy appeared as guests combining their balkan-mediterranean music traditions with the alpine-austrian music traditions.
Elements of Volxfest were also presented as pop ups in the region prior to and during the festival, at diverse Volksfeste and local markets, and also played an important part during the finale in Mauthausen in the public space.
Bike Ratchet Tour – A site specific performance on wheels / Conny Zenk (AT), Cornelia Scheuer (AT), Gustavo Ciríaco (PT) and Kalin Serapionov (BG)
Centriphery-Bike Ratchet Tour, as the central element of the Centriphery project, invited the audience to an exciting cycling performance, which developed its own perspective on the region and the landscape of the Machland, navigating various locations and landscapes and making them into a stage.
The bicycle, wheelchair, and other mobile vehicular devices simultaneously became actors and instruments.
Regional traditions such as “Ratschen”, which is recognized as the immaterial cultural heritage of Upper Austria, was an integrated part of the performance, as the examination of mobility and the body, confrontations with passersby, and audiovisual art in public space that was be made accessible and experienced by many different people at once. The choreography with which the cyclists will move through the landscape will connect and make the intersections between performance, sound art, media art, and bicycle history dynamic.
The project was developed through a series of workshops with citizen experts, who are still connected to the old traditions and with people connected to the landscape in which the performance took place.
The chosen area is highly connected to local narratives, as it is considered to be a flooding area of the river Danube and the farms and small villages, which were present in that strip of land have been moved to higher lands as recently as 17 years ago.
A collective memory of those communities still exists, and the memories were an integral part in the development of the Bike Ratchet Tour.
In total over 80 Workshops were held in the Perg-Strudengau region, reaching over 1000 people between 6 and 96 years old, all participating in the creation of Centriphery.
In addition, the district of Perg in collaboration with Centriphery organized on July 1st a conference on the topic of barriers, inclusion and accessibility. Gian-Maria Greco, as part of Centriphery artistic board, was keynote speaker. Over 40 experts and citizens were part of the fruitful dialogue.