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The Fortress of Crossed Destinies

18 July–27 August 2022

Photo: Mira Turba

The Fortress of Crossed Destinies, Salzburg Summer Academy’s public programme of talks and lecture-performances for 2022, borrows its title from a book by Italo Calvino, The Castle of Cross Destinies, in which the author explores the way meaning is constructed through multiple interpretations beyond the limits of anthropocentric despotism


The tale of a group of travellers meeting at a castle in the heart of nature, narrated by Calvino in his impeccable style of magic realism, constitutes a valid parable upon which to base a programme of encounters that is part of an International Academy of Fine Arts located in a historical town in Europe amidst mountains and valleys. Sharing intentions with the book, 2022 Summer Academy’s public programme aims not only to re-think the Enlightenment proclamation that "man"can master the world exclusively through the faculty of reason, but also to re-explore the distinct vantage point, perspective, gender and orientation of this "man" who is called to make sense of the word, ultimately wishing – or not wishing – to master it. The "Castle" in the original title has been altered to "Fortress", not only because the Academy is located in the historical Hohensalzburg Fortress, but also because we wish to instigate a paradoxical play on words and nuances. This public programme serves as a symbolic hijacking of the traditional meaning of a fortress. It is an effort to somehow transform its duty from guarding monocultural hegemonies, towards guarding the crucial possibility of cross-fertilization and coexistence. Through a series of performances, screenings and discussions involving various – sometimes even conflicting – stances, opinions and strategies, we hope to shed light on a series of unexpected kinships as well as unorthodox "places" where people can meet to imagine other ways of being in the world.


Written in 1973, Calvino’s book begins with a castle in the heart of a forest, where a group of travellers, women and men, have met by chance. All of them have lost their voices, and the only way they can communicate with one another and narrate the ordeals that brought them there is by laying down the cards of a tarot pack. Taking turns, they start combining the cards to recount some of their life fragments. Various stories, some already known – such as those of Faust, Parsifal, Oedipus and Hamlet – cross with other new ones in infinite versions, as if most possible interpretations of this world are somehow contained in these "mysterious cards". The tarots are the device through which multiple layers of human consciousness are being deployed. Yet a tarot card can change meaning according to the context and the orientation in which it is placed. All guests in the castle have to contend with this sense of mutual "untranslatability", as well as between themselves and the cards. Sometimes their stories might have little to do with the interpretation of the narrator, who is by no means sure of himself either, as evidenced by many incidents in the book. The layout of the whole book as a card game in itself, presenting the illustrations of the cards next to the text, offers multiple forms of freedom in comprehending the cosmos and its entanglements. Even readers can decide to reject the narrator’s interpretation and come up with their own explanation of the stories based on the semiotics of the cards.


Who are we, vis-à-vis our surroundings? How can we bring the past into the present and how can a "parallel" future become plausible within our lives? Can we arrive at the formation of new/old vocabularies that encompass risk but also promise new forms of solidarity and interconnectedness, beyond the normative narratives of middle and margin, human and non-human, she, he and it, I and we, and many other binaries. These are some leading questions which recur in loops within disciplines of research and experiment, such as the practice and culture of the visual arts. There is little that can be – immediately – said or answered. Like the opening of the novel, revealing that all the protagonists have been struck dumb, we find ourselves muted by continuous hazards such as the everlasting processes of colonialism, a series of worldwide economic crises, the omen of environmental disaster, the pandemic, the persistent violence in all levels of private and public life, the successive deadly wars. The fragile continuum of our planetary symbiosis — our wishful appeal to "we" — has begun to irreversibly splinter and fragment. Yet our task is not to stay silent. These are the times to learn, unlearn, re-learn and come together, either in fictive castles, as in the book, or in real experimental academies, as in Salzburg, to reflect on new possibilities of transformation – our crossed destinies.


The public programme The Fortress of Crossed Destinies was curated by Marina Fokidis, independent curator and publisher of the magazine South as a State of Mind. It is part of the ongoing research project Horizons of possibility, initiated and curated by Sophie Goltz, Director Summer Academy, since 2021.

Zdenka Badovinac, Ángela Bonadies, Vasyl Cherepanyn, Sebastian Cichocki, Ekaterina Degot, Léuli Eshrāghi, Marina Fokidis, Sophie Goltz, Jennifer Higgie, Flaka Haliti, Ania Nowak/Kem School, Metahaven, Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Markus Miessen, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Angelo Plessas, Slavs and Tatars, Tracey Rose, Tanzim Wahab and Munem Wasif.

All events were held in English language. 

Documentation YouTube channel


Crossing #1 (The High Priestess)
Thursday, 21 July 2022, 7 pm, –Traklhaus
Art and activism as an Inseparable Tool  for Storytelling
Artist Małgorzata Mirga-Tas in conversation with Sophie Goltz (Director of International Summer Academy, Salzburg)


Crossing #2 (The Sun)
Friday, 22 July 2022, 7pm – Traklhaus
Seeds Shall Set Us Free
Artist Munem Wasif in conversation with Tanzim Wahab (director of Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography, Dhaka)


Crossing #3 (The Chariot)
Tuesday, 26 July 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Europe, the Fortress of Crossed Wars
Public lecture by Vasyl Cherepanyn (director of  Visual Culture Research Center, Kyiv)


Crossing #4 (Strength)
Tuesday, 2 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Crossing Continents with Archival Fever at 360 Degrees
A conversation between artists  Krista Belle Stewart and Léuli Eshrāghi


Crossing #5 (The Moon)
Wednesday, 3 August 2022, 9 pm – Salzburger Kunstverein
Sunset KinoMotherlands
Short – film programme curated by artist Angela Bonadies


Crossing #6 (The Lovers)
Thursday, 4 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Lecture intervention by artist Tracey Rose (EN)


Crossing #7 (The Fool)
Tuesday, 9 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Everywhere Present, Nowhere Visible (and vice versa)
Lecture Performance and guided meditation by artist Angelo Plessas


Crossing #8 (Temperance)
Thursday, 11 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Public Institutions of Arts Responding to Emergencies
panel discussion with Zdenka Badovinac, via (director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb) Sebastian Cichocki ((Chief Curator and Head of Research at the Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw)), Ekaterina Degot (artistic director and chief curator of steirischer herbs, Gratz). Moderated by Marina Fokidis (curator and writer)


Crossing #9 (The Wheel of Fortune)
Monday, 15 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
The Making of the Discourse Bar
A conversation between artist Flaka Haliti, artistic collective Metaheaven and architect Markus Miessen


Crossing #10 (The Empress)
Wednesday, 17 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
The Mirror and the Palette: 500 Years of Women's Self-Portraits
Book presentation  by writer Jennifer Higgie


Crossing #11 (Justice)
Monday, 22 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
A Means to Render Our Lives Believable: Of Solitude and Solidarity, or the Whitewashing of Solidarity
Public lecture by Dr. Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (founder and artistic director of SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin)


Crossing #12 (The Hierophant)
Tuesday, 23 August 2022, 7 pm – Traklhaus
Red-Black Thread  public lecture by artist collective Slavs and Tatars


Crossing #13 Queers Night Out with Kem School
Friday, 26 August 2022 – Galerie 5020
Performance with Ania Nowak (choreographer, Poland/Germany), concert with Bella Ćwir (singer, Poland), music sets by DJ Czuły, DJ Jśa, DJ suhlisi, and DJ Krzysztof


Saturday, 27 August 2022, 12 am-4 pm – Galerie 5020
Performance workshop by Ania Nowak / Kem School (choreographer, Poland/Germany)