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a ghost festival about the absent present in and around us
films | lectures | readings | performances | music
three festival evenings on 28, 29 and 30 october 2021
vienna poetry school in association with schauspielhaus wien, in cooperation with slash filmfestival

event hauntings
/ festival


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

films | lectures | readings | performances | music

thurs., 28 october until sat. 30 october 2021

starting each day 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.

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


thurs., 28 october, 8 p.m.

markus keuschnigg (slash filmfestival vienna; film journalist) presents his favourite ghost movies.

sfd& ghosts readings from the sfd-magazine by the writers:
eleonora bögl, curd duca, eva pilipp, petra pribitzer, alexandra wieser

susann maria hempel (greiz) 4 short films:
“wie ist die welt so stille” (5 min); “der große gammel” (8 min); “die fliegen (the birds II)” (7:30 min), “sieben mal am tag beklagen wir unser los und nachts stehen wir auf, um nicht zu träumen” (18 min)

fri., 29 october, 8 p.m.

johannes ullmaier (literature scholar, mainz) intro lecture

barbi marković (writer, vienna) exclusive festival text

sfd& ghosts readings from the sfd-magazine by the writers:
gerald jatzek, markus köhle, linda f. lux

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

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

sat., 30 october, 8 p.m.

roger clarke (writer and ghost researcher, london) a natural history of ghosts: 500 years of hunting for proof talk via zoom & reading by dirk sterman (comedian, presenter, author, actor & sfd-teacher) from the german translation

barbara zeman (writer, vienna) exclusive festival text

sfd& ghosts readings from the sfd-magazine issued in relation to the festival
max pein, renate schiansky, agnes schneidewind, susanne weigersdorfer, jan zimmermann

voodoo jürgens (poet & musician) with his graveyard poetry class: manfred bruckner, jürgen heimlich, johanna niedermair, vera reumann, stephan ronay, susanne weigersdorfer – reading / performance

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


susann maria hempel (greiz) 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.

markus keuschnigg (vienna) his heart beats for numerous types of physical and psychological horror movies. as director of the highly praised vienna slash filmfestival, he has unearthed lost and new treasures of the remote shocker cinema. we are looking forward to the presentation of favourite ghost movies by this highly-knowledgable afficionado.

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".

voodoo jürgens (vienna) – born david öllerer, he carries on the great tradition of viennese dialect poetry; and as a singer & songwriter of often very black songs, voodoo jürgens can be seen as a worthy successor of the great poet h.c. artmann. who else but him should therefore roam the viennese graveyards with students from the vienna poetry school, solely for the purpose of banishing the resident ghosts into rhymes? the graveyard poets of the class are: manfred bruckner, jürgen heimlich, johanna niedermair, vera reumann, stephan ronay, susanne weigersdorfer

ela orleans (london) – 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 ...




respective corona regulations apply:

attention: from october on and for the following five months, the schauspielhaus is a new artistic meeting place, a schauspielhaus, a hostel, a hotel. exactly speaking: no hotel, something in-between...

(c) giovanna bolliger/shw


sfd& gespenster (ghosts)
magazine of the vienna poetry school #2
>> (in german)





vienna poetry school in association with schauspielhaus wien




in cooperation with










review: >> sfd-rage festival 2019