1968 brings to mind social change, insurrection, and liberation, an eventful period of worldwide protests, dismantling authoritarian structures, and creating alternative social models. The public program Joint Ventures, takes place over six weekends between May and December and will examine how things stand today with regard to the socio-political achievements and demands of the movements of 1968.

The fight for emancipation and equality, civil rights and participation, democratization and opening-up of institutions has certainly achieved lasting change. The world of today is a different world, but some hopes and expectations have remained unfulfilled and are still a matter for dispute in society. The movements were immediately followed by (self-)critical examination of the events and their academic review in contemporary history and cultural studies. At the same time, some of the central ideals were co-opted by neoliberalism while neoconservatives made the revolutionary movement of ‘68 into their bête noire. They seek “to liquidate the spirit of ‘68” and turn back the clock on that epoch-shattering period.

With this in mind we ask, without cynicism or naivety: Where has all the spirit of social change gone? What does the public sphere mean today? How can utopian thinking be reinvented? Is the social model of a pluralistic and representative democracy still to be saved? What can we learn from emancipation movements in feminism on a local and transnational level?

Beyond a backward-looking interpretive argument about what 1968 actually was, the public program deals with burning questions of the present time, which is marked by a crisis of democracy, the strengthening of authoritarian forces and the questioning of emancipatory achievements. The title Joint Ventures has a thoroughly programmatic meaning: In an atmosphere of hospitality and communality, active participants, experts, museum visitors, passers-by, and people who are interested or highly engaged can meet to reflect on what it means today to take a shared risk.

The public program includes film presentations, readings, performances, lectures, planned and open discussion forums, workshops and conferences. The events, most of which will last several days, each focus on one issue with program elements that vary in content and form. The interaction of these elements creates a specific way of experiencing content and communality that will determine the essential character of the “joint ventures.” The public program is free of charge for participants at all events.

The venues for this program will be the Blickle cinema and an area of the Belvedere 21 foyer. Artists Cäcilia Brown, Noële Ody and Maruša Sagadin are creating objects that are at once sculptural and functional to give form to the different situations of coming together. Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi is responsible for the visual appearance of the series. His drawings capture the conditions of the world we live in and provide pointed, humorous commentary, often with biting irony.