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a ghost festival about the absent present in and around us
films | lectures | readings | performances | music
a ghost cinema evening on 15 october plus two festival evenings on 16 and 17 october 2020.
vienna poetry school in association with schauspielhaus wien, in cooperation with slash filmfestival and filmarchiv austria / metro kinokulturhaus

event hauntings
/ festival


a ghost-festival about the absent present in and around us

films | lectures | readings | performances | music

thurs., 15 october, 8 p.m.: short films & lecture
venue: metro kinokulturhaus, johannesgasse 4, 1010 vienna

fri., 16 and sat. 17 october 2020, each starting at 8 p.m.
venue: schauspielhaus, porzellangasse 19, 1090 vienna

something shows itself in its absence. something reaches from the past into our life. or – who actually knows –  from the beyond. to us, this intangible something is in fact uncanny, but because of its omnipresence in fairy tales, thrillers, horror films and tv series it is quite familiar. it: the ghost, spectre, spook, apparition, phantom, spirit, vision and visitant.

quite early on ghosts have left their literary haunts – moors, graves, castles and other "haunted houses" – and have nested in the construct of ideas of philosophy and psychoanalysis. and they have done so with such force that they have haunted cultural studies in many forms as metaphors, codes and discourse figures: from the economy of appearance already described by karl marks as eery false economy of todays financial capital movements, via jacques derrida's plea to "learn to live with ghosts", up to the "hauntology" of the cultural scientist mark fisher, according to which the "abolition of the future" gives birth to spooky revenants of gone by eras.

despite being charged by theory, ghosts are – as border phenomena between this world and the beyond, visibility and invisibility, fascination and fear –  of course still a playground for our imagination; it doesn't matter if these are the good old ghosts who "only" gave us a fright, because we could neither read their messages nor their strange state of aggregation. or if it is about the new ghosts whose absent presence troubles us as much with their omnipresent fake images of our media reality as with the phantom-like stagings of our own selves in the social networks. the old ghosts around us were only spooky, the new ones in us are just creepy.

for a contemporary literature festival our intention is to listen to the response in current text and music production to this historical diversity of cultural ghost production. although ghosts may raise many doubts with their appearance, there is little doubt that ghosts are again in high demand. one only has to believe in them.

ps: the list ouf our literary ghostbusters and musical hauntologists is growing as if by an invisible hand.

curated by fritz ostermayer (artistic director of the vienna poetry school)


thurs., 15 october (cinema / metro kino)

the directors duo veronika franz & severin fiala present their favourite ghost movies.

susann maria hempel (berlin) 4 short films:
sieben mal am tag beklagen wir unser los und nachts stehen wir auf, um nicht zu träumen”; “der große gammel”; “wie ist die welt so stille”; “die fliegen (the birds II)”
the film artist will be present.

fri., 16 october (8 p.m., schauspielhaus)

johannes ullmaier (literature scholar, mainz) intro lecture

barbi marković (writer, vienna) exclusive contract text

sfd& ghosts readings from the new sfd-magazine published for the festival

hendrik otremba (writer and musician, berlin) reading from his novel kachelbads erbe

makunouchi bento & silent strike (electronic bela bartok-hauntologists, temeswar)

sat., 17 october (8 p.m., schauspielhaus)

roger clarke (writer and ghost researcher, london) “a natural history of ghosts: 500 years of hunting for proof” – talk & reading

barbara zeman (writer, vienna) exclusive contract text plus short samples from the vienna poetry school publication sfd& gespenster (ghosts)

daniel kehlmann (writer, new york) lecture and talk

ela orleans (musician and ghost poet, glasgow)   music performance


susann maria hempel (berlin) in her four short films the movie maker and radio play writer proves to be the most genius representative of a very last 'dark romanticism' which would even make david lynch go down in shock. a lost sister of the brothers grimm, reemerged after more than 200 years.

veronika franz and severin fiala (vienna)  it is quite fortunate that one doesn't have to import the dream team of the new psycho-spookiness from far away hollywood, but that they are virtually at our doorstep. with their scary films goodnight mommy, die trud and the lodge, the directors duo franz/fiala impressed hard-to-impress cineasts and conquered the cool tempered horror fans alike. and this internationally. if such capacities present their ten most favourite ghost movies in a lecture, one can expect an evening of marvellous obsessions. featuring goose bumps and thrills of ecstasy.

johannes ullmaier (mainz) our renaissance man realises the impossibility of the task, after corona, to still identify ghosts that do not lurk in our fellow human beings; nevertheless, mr ullmaier will attempt a classification of the present absent or the absend present in a cultural historical jumble of the uncanny from homer to james wan.

barbi marković (vienna) while in former yugoslavia it was agreed that 'the balkans' exists, simultaneously there was pressure to distance oneself from what historian maria todorova called 'balkanism'. barbi marković' work lies at this interface of western cliché and 'eastern' self-characterisation, where "the ghosts from the past come creeping back time and again". luckily, there are a few funny ones amongst them.

hendrik otremba (berlin) as singer of the german band "messer" he is, according to spiegel online, "an expert in making the feeling of fear and disorientation into art". in his novel kachelbads erbe he succeeds in a marvellous reversion of the ghost timeline: thanks to cryonics, we not only have to be afraid of revenants from the past, but also of the frozen bodies from the future. the spookiest within us is the human brain - defrosted.

makunouchi bento & silent strike (temesvar/rou) – this electro trio summons bela bartok's ghost from recordings and thus refers to the spiritualistic tradition of tape recordings during seances with which the voices of the dead should be captured. bartok himself frequently traveled to the banat with a phonograph in order to record local folk music and thus preserve the 'ghost of the farmers music". a brilliantly eccentric cultural historical ping-pong game with the spook of music ethnology in times of technical replicability.

roger clarke (london) – at the age of 14, the author of a natural history of ghosts: 500 years of hunting for proof was made the youngest member of the society for psychical research. still, he never sighted a ghost - despite decades of hunting. however, far more interesting are the numerous charlatans, swindlers, seance-fanatics and honest & dishonest ghost hunters whose often incredible stories clarke assembles in his book. for all that, the ghost scientist never loses sight of his original research field. upon being asked whether ghosts exist at all he replies convincingly: "of course ghosts exist, one just has to believe in them."

barbara zeman (vienna) – creaky wooden floors are part of the standard repertoire for psychoacoustic goose bumps production. in barbara zeman's tale mädchen - a reading premiere at the festival - the boards are creaking at schwarzspanierhaus where beethoven lies on his deathbed. the last maid of the maestro feels as if the floor has a greedy soul. the author: "i have worked intensely with beethoven's conversation booklets which are hard to surpass regarding spookiness".

daniel kehlmann (new york, berlin) – no other german writer is so fascinated (possessed?) by ghosts as daniel kehlmann. not yet very spooky, ghosts surface already in his 2005 bestseller measuring the world. in 2015, kehlmann's 'frankfurter poetikvorlesungen' is titled come, ghosts. 2016 sees the publication of his eerie tale you should have left in which things get extremely unpleasant, not only in a 'haunted house'. kehlmann says: "as a writer, i'm becoming more and more creepy". our diagnosis: daniel kehlmann lusts for ghosts. very good.

ela orleans (glasgow) – in the field of uncanny revenants ela orleans (born in poland, lives in scotland) is unbeaten with her tentative reminiscences of early girlbands in pop history. what once sounded euphoric and innocent, with orleans sounds melancholically somnambulant and smudged by all misogynistic phil spectors of the entertainment industry. if ghosts could cry ...


 (c) giovanna bolliger/shw


call for text submissions 2020 (deadline: 15 july)
sfd& gespenster (ghosts)
magazine of the vienna poetry school #2 >>
we're looking for spooky texts with a max. length of 3,000 characters
publication date: in time for the festival!



vienna poetry school in association with schauspielhaus wien



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