The position of artistic director of the donaufestival from 2017 was tendered in the entire German-speaking area at the beginning of December 2014.
From the total of 63 applications (many international) in a four-stage competition that culminated in a hearing before the jury, the radio producer, author, and curator Thomas Edlinger was selected as first place and thus will follow Tomas Zierhofer-Kin as the artistic director of the donaufestival.
From 2017 for a period of at least five years, Edlinger will program the internationally acclaimed festival in Krems, an interdisciplinary platform for contemporary art forms with a focus on the realm of performance at the intersection of fine arts, multimedia theatre, media art, installations, film and video art, and music in a pop and subcultural context.
Experienced both in the fields of avant-garde pop music and fine arts at the interface with performance, Edlinger’s concept is to further pursue the core ambitions of the donaufestival’s independent artistic format while enhancing the profile with broader content and discursive accents. “I don’t want to take anything away from the donaufestival in its current form rather build upon it. donaufestival should continue to guarantee intense experiences in an age of the dissolution of artistic borders. But I also see it as a laboratory for explorations of the present day.”
Thomas Edlinger was born 1967 in Vienna and studied philosophy, journalism, and German philology. With Fritz Ostermayer he organises and moderates the FM4 radio show “Im Sumpf”. He has made contributions to Ö1 radio station programmes such as “Diagonal” and works as a cultural journalist and freelance author on diverse book projects. In 2012 he published the essay “In Anführungszeichen. Glanz und Elend der Political Correctness” together with Matthias Dusini. Released last September, his new book is titled “Der wunde Punkt. Vom Unbehagen an der Kritik” (both Edition Suhrkamp).
As a curator he has worked for the contemporary art centre OK Offenes Kulturhaus (2002–2004) and Lentos Art Museum (2004–2006) in Linz, amongst others. He was a lecturer in the Institute of Fine Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz from 2009 to 2010. In collaboration with Christian Höller he curated the 2011 exhibition “Secret and Uncanny Presence in Media, Art and Pop” at the Medienturn in Graz along with the accompanying concert series “Sonic Spectres” in the framework of the steirischer herbst festival. Since 2013 he has been an information design teacher at the FH Joanneum in Graz.
“After 12 years of advancing the new donaufestival, knowing that Thomas Edlinger – one of the top universal thinkers and designers – will further develop the festival idea with his artistic signature makes me more than happy! You can already sign me up as one of the first regular visitors,” Tomas Zierhofer-Kin congratulates his successor. He will assume the directorship of the Wiener Festwochen in 2017.
© Ingo Pertramer