endless now

You always have new messages; it just takes the next click for the next kick. The gears of the present are greased with the streams of the already forgotten; under capitalist conditions the now has bloated into an imperious continuum. The global market has provoked just-in-time productions; supermarkets are named after their opening hours: 24/7. Stock exchanges deal in real-time, and container ports never sleep. The battle against climate change, like the one-off declaration of a now endless war against terror, knows no peace, while the night sky keeps getting brighter above an ever darker future.  

Nothing really ends, but nothing really begins either. Can we also see this state as a liberation from the burdens of the past or the idealisation of the future? Or are we living in the age of fake progress, which let the promise of a tomorrow wither into a simple system update and lost the momentum of real contemporaneity (which requires distance from the present)?

In any case, it seems as if chronological order has been shaken to the roots. Culture and politics are infested by zombies from the past. Retro-phenomena herald the need for fixed points in history. Memes are spooking around the web, which groom an on/off relationship with the now: Everything should click open and click away. Looking forward, we see speculation after speculation dictated by financial capitalism. In nanoseconds computers compute data of other computers, creating a present derived from the projected future. Our online lives trigger data processing of our digital doppelgänger; like a technological subconscious it can anticipate more about ourselves than we can. The regime of the algorithm means suspending the spirit of freedom. Hence, talk about the future just meekly promises more of what there already is tagged with Likes. And the hope that the perpetuation of the present isn’t already the catastrophe that nudges us over the unexpected tipping point of system stability – be it the finance markets, natural resources, or climate change.

donaufestival wants to trace this state of an endless now and the alternatives. It wants to introduce the simultaneity of the non-simultaneous. It searches for ruptures with the operating system of the vast present and investigates the potential of accelerations and decelerations, exaggerations and rejections.

Sounds of a distant future? Is it different than now? Perhaps. Hopefully.

Thomas Edlinger
donaufestival artistic director 



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