There has been no one city's culture, at one singular time in modern history, more widely influential on contemporary thought than that of Habsburg Vienna a century ago. A time so densely constituted with intellectual revolution in fields as diverse as poetry, fiction, journalism, music, composition, philosophy, psychology, art … that it seems it can often only be evoked through a wistfulness that belies the melancholy, the energy and the seismic change that constituted it.
Against these reverberations, Kakania, in it's first year, saw 5 events, over forty new commissions, two original publications and an array of contemporary artists. It aimed to not just to evoke that era, but to envelope it, to transpose it. To relive it in new colours. Kakania in it's first incarnation began in November 2014 and closed in March 2015. It was new artists making new work, paying their debt to that remarkable period of Austrian history in the writing, performance and artworks they were, and are, making, entirely supported by the Austrian Cultural Forum.
Kakania, in it's second year, will see events in both London and Berlin. With events in April, May and September 2016. Three events and a symposium will continue the vitality of the project, thanks to the renewed support of Austrian Cultural Forum in London and the new partnership of the Österreichisches Kulturforum Berlin. New artists and previous commissions will mix in new venues as the Kakania project continues on, building upon it's previous success.
From the Rich Mix Arts Centre to the Freud Museum to the Austrian Cultural Forum, from London to Berlin, this is a project which explores the legacy of the Habsburg era through decidedly contemporary, original works of text and art which attempt to be as complex and genre testing as the works, and the people, they are responsive to. This is a project where the past, and our understanding of it, is not be refracted through historical analysis, but the creative process, and one that is utterly contemporary. Kakania is an opportunity for audiences to discover the Habsburg era in a wholly new guise, as our era.