One hundred years ago, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was the first European country to recognise Islam as an official religion. Muslims have long since become a visible part of today’s population – yet they still predominantly represent “the others”, while Europe itself is on the verge of forfeiting its utopian ideals once and for all. “Rebranding European Muslims” is an international PR project by the Israeli performance and research group Public Movement, who play artistically with the instruments of a political branding campaign and the strategies of mass communication. Instead of giving answers, the project, being ambivalent, provokes different standpoints. Backed up by branding experts and with the aid of strategies deployed in official political campaigns, the project experiments with artistic possibilities of changing public opinion.
The campaign that begins in Graz, to be relayed to other countries, kicks off with a big gala: a political charity event as much as a theatrical enactment of commitment and conflict. The gala stages a performance of conflict and advocacy and celebrates at the same time Austria’s historic role as Western gateway to the Muslim world. Special guests are a local belly dance company, the Choir of the Islamic Cultural Center Graz, scholars and diplomats, politicians, strategists, all joining in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the recognition of Islam as an official European religion.
At the heart of the gala, three prestigious branding agencies from Amsterdam, Stockholm and Vienna present their creative proposals for the future direction of the Rebranding European Muslims campaign – and the audience itself will decide which one is the most convincing approach. The winning idea will be presented in the centre of Graz – before the campaign moves on to other cities and countries. The gala will be accompanied by traditional Middle Eastern cuisine and closes with a live concert by the internationally acclaimed Islamic punk band The Kominas from Lexington/Massachusetts, performing for the first time in Austria.
Concert: The Kominas
Host Nadja Kayali (A)
Branding strategists Mariusz Jan Demner / Demner, Merlicek & Bergmann (A), Guleed Mohamed / Love Tensta (SE), Daniel van der Velden / Metahaven (NL)
Honorary guest speaker Omar Al-Rawi (A/IRQ)
Further guests Marwan Abado (A/PS), Muhammad Asad (A), Chor des Islamischen Kulturzentrums Graz (Adis Agic, Safet Alesevic, Ensar Alic, Ibrahim Cikaric, Damir Krupic, Idris Omerovic, Ammar Muharemovic, Imran Sisic (Stimmen), Kenan Dedic (Gitarre,
Sologesang), Ondin Havic (Akkordeon, Keyboard), Samir Hodzic (Gitarre), Emil Macic (Keyboard, Akkordeon), Haris Mujacic (Tarabuka) (A), Neslihan Celebi / Helene Byma / Katharina Zotter (A)
Head of Public Movement Dana Yahalomi
General consultant Florian Malzacher
Consulant of design and light Jackie Shemesh
Correspondence and Assistant Gerda Strobl
Assistant research Nora Gresch
Consulatant and text Alhena Katsof, Public Movement
Newsletter Daniel Miller
Design logo and poster Luca Conte / by Herz – information strategies
Production direction Dominik Jutz
Production Kirsten Patent
Technical direction Hermann Schapek
Technical direction Helmut-List-Halle Peter Springer
Light Edith Offenhauser
Sound Karl Masten & Johannes Egger
Crew artbox / reddog