All the Same – What is valid if everything is valid?
Our societies are in a crisis of equality – although we are far
removed from the goal of egalitarianism: The gap between rich and poor
is growing ever larger, with no chance of equal opportunities. Other
inequalities are upheld by intolerance, fear, protection of vested
rights, and envy. Despite all of this, every ideology finds an equality
argument to suit its agenda: Neoliberal desolidarisation campaigns
propagate that anyone can achieve social advancement if only they want
to. Elsewhere, tolerance becomes synonymous with indifference towards
the fate of others or serves to avoid having one’s own opinions.
Amidst all of this there appears a call for new, old values that are
believed to have been made the same. Values that ensure that social and
geographical gaps are upheld, guaranteeing sovereignty of opinion and
protection of property. But, on the other hand, values that also
organise social life, defining criteria for acting or not acting, for
our dealings with each other.
The fast-paced social and economic change in recent years creates a
sense that nothing is equal any more, that there is not enough sameness
in society, no longer enough things that are valid for everyone, to
define a common standard. And, at the same time, that there is too much
indifference, that the most varied biographies and identities are
indiscriminately made equal, and that we ourselves are increasingly
coming to resemble the others and becoming indistinguishable from them.
steirischer herbst festival 2009 and "Spielfeldforschung" ("Playing field research"), the theoretical backbone the festival, plays with the notion of “All the Same”
that, on the one hand, describes a lack of interest that we develop
towards the present, the future and the past. And, on the other hand,
that demands the same validity: equal rights, respect for other
cultural values, ways of life and cultures, making concessions as
regards interests that are purely self-serving. As a social mission, as
a utopia, and as an everyday demand.