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IF I CAN’T DANCE (it’s not my revolution)

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Wiener Festwochen / into the city

May 2013

In the atrium of the “Wien Museum” in the middle of Vienna, located within the wealthy & mostly peaceful landscapes of Europe, we zoom into conflict-zones all over the world. The tracks, videos, blogs, & articles from international artists form milestones, contour lines, & shapes of new countries that represent a subjective mapping of a musical world.

The view of the outside also turns back to face the temporary control room itself. Over the course of four weeks, bands & DJs will perform, talks will be held, & independent research can be conducted investigating where music becomes the audible & tangible sound of politics.


Politics and music are a matter of attitude: the position adopted by an individual or by a group. Does a crowd combine to form organized structures or chaotic masses? Are collective energies confined within a space and conducted from the stage – or whipped into a frenzy and channeled outward in order to actually effect change?

And just as revolt requires pose – the emblem of the body in resistance – there are also many other nuances of very concrete practices that create independent spaces and ambivalences that subvert and offset the order of the status quo. An ostensibly elusive medium, music’s impact can be both explosively violent and insidiously subversive – even more so due to today’s media, which allow it to change location and spread rapidly. The musicians themselves, however – their bodies, their lives – can still be attacked, imprisoned, and destroyed by the systems they provoke.

“IF I CAN‘T DANCE (it‘s not my revolution)” seizes on a statement attributed to Emma Goldman, the anarchist and feminist who enjoyed great popularity in the late 19th & early 20th centuries and up through the politically charged 70s. The exclusively typographical, inaudible variation of the quote destabilizes the explicitness of the slogan, calling its intention into question.

Spatial concept and design: Jörg Lukas Matthaei // Design and graphics: Christian Bretter // Artistic collaboration: Dorothea Ronneburg // Collaboration coordinator: Marianne Strauhs // Textile objects: Gudrun Lenk-Wane // Assembly team: Andi Mathes, Michaela Lackner, Jakob Kovacic, Thomas Nemetz, Daniel Heimböck

Photos: Sabine Pichler / JLM