Change is ubiquitous. As every new generation has learnt by experience, there’s no way of halting it. Electricity, cars, the telephone, the computer, the smartphone, social legislation, workers’ rights, globalisation have all shown us that no matter whether we protest, demonstrate or just sit down and groan, sooner or later innovation will assert itself. Strictly speaking, there are only two responses to change. Either we sit back and watch, accept new developments as God-given and submit to them, making ourselves into the playthings of apparently uncontrollable events. Or we take a hand in these developments, actively designing the future because we see change as an opportunity rather than a threat. This way we can help ensure that change means making things better, not worse. The one thing we can’t do is to stop it happening.
In the last year of our Enlightenment trilogy, we look to the future. We ask the question: “How do we want to live? As always, it’s not about giving answers, but about asking questions and initiating a discourse. Our production “Castor&&Pollux”, a musical theatre for ensemble, video and “4DSOUND”, deals with the great questions of mankind: What does Posthuman Age mean? How do we use Artificial Intelligence and the achievements of the technological revolution without waking up at some point and the machine taking power? How will we live when the finiteness of life no longer exists? How will we work then? What will our families look like? Our interpersonal relationships? If we look at this distant point, we can ask questions that already concern us today. We do this with the means of art.
We have possibilities to shape the present and the future. In 2019, “Neuland.Lied” is dedicated to the political song, which has always been a means to formulate utopias and to stimulate action through the negotiated hopes and fantasies. Political songs take concrete positions that we cannot escape in their force. They mock or celebrate the prevailing social orders. They are stories about emancipation, propaganda violence and system criticism.
If you think about the future of society, you can hardly avoid dealing with different ways of life. Our chamber music festival “Standpunkte” deals with such life plans. How did we want to live if we existed in another political system? What if we were children? What life plans do extremists and assassins have? Shaping the future needs positive life plans and not fear.
It is time to develop long-term visions of our future and work on their implementation. We have to start discussing again about how we see the future. We must stop thinking of ourselves as the plaything of time. Debate needs different positions so that we can discuss. The question “How do we want to live?” is therefore a task that we have to face! The future is not made by others. We have the responsibility to find answers to this central question.