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MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues 2016

MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues commits itself to exploring the phenomenon of time in its socio-political, philosophical and artistic dimensions. In spite of the prevailing logic of the event, our goal is to deepen experiences, to ask questions anew, to develop ideas and to facilitate re-encounters across the years.

The second edition of this newly devised festival imagined the Digital Universe as the birthplace of new forms of time – digital times, as it were, that shape our lives increasingly. The global real-time put into effect by digital technologies makes itself felt on a daily basis, for better or for worse. It makes spatial distances collapse; it sets new standards of pace and creates facts in lapses of time far below the human threshold of perception; it opens up free space and free time undreamed of, only to clog them at once with innumerable options, offers and promises delivered constantly by digital capitalism. “What happens to our time?” – This frequently asked question acquires a different colour in the light of digital temporalities.

“Time and the Digital Universe” was the title of the opening conference of “Thinking Together”, a weeklong discourse format dedicated to exploring such time issues. The conference’s topic was taken up by an evening that dealt with algorithmic composition and new horizons in the artistic collaboration between humans and machines.

A number of projects made space for the distinct temporality of music – forms of time that resist acceleration, standardisation and the dictate of efficiency. From the opening project “time to gather” with Marino Formenti, the four-hour concert experiment “alif” and Mazen Kerbaj’s new sound installation, to the grand finale of the festival, “The Long Now”: MaerzMusik developed and presented performance formats in which time itself could unfold, and along with it different modes of perception and encounter could take place.

A group of projects was centred around Schubert’s seminal epic of loneliness “Die Winterreise”: Elfriede Jelinek’s pitiless theatre text of the same name, Bernhard Lang’s meta-composition “The Cold Trip”, Daniel Kötter’s and Hannes Seidl’s music theatre “LIEBE” and Ian Bostridge’s staggering Schubert-interpretation had a common vanishing line in tackling an entirely analogue host of timeless questions.

And finally, MaerzMusik 2016 took a glance at topical positions in contemporary composition, presenting new works by, amongst others, Joanna Bailie, Matthew Shlomowitz, Alexander Schubert, Eduardo Moguillansky and Timothy McCormack, performed by Plus-Minus Ensemble and Ensemblekollektiv Berlin.