Out of Joint
The literary festival within steirischer herbst

Wer wir waren? (Who We Were?)
11.10.–14.10., Literaturhaus Graz

We were the ones who disappeared. We lived like the person who turns around in the doorway, wants to say something more, but has nothing more to say. We operated at the threshold—from the power of the individual to the power of circumstances.
—Roger Willemsen, Wer wir waren (posthumous, 2016)

What would it be like to look at our present moment from the future? What would we observe about ourselves and the time in which we live at such a moment? In his final book project, the German journalist, author, and presenter Roger Willemsen (1955–2016) took on this perspective. The work remained unfinished, but evolved into a discourse on the future titled Wer wir waren (Who We Were). Here Willemsen says: “In almost every medium of historical reconstruction, almost without exception, we have learned to see through the eyes of those who were and those who have gone. But comparatively seldom do we attempt to identify with the viewpoint of those who are yet to come and who will despair of us.”

This year’s edition of Out of Joint shares the thought: What image will the world convey to us when we one day observe it from the future? Will our children despair of our legacy? Are we already despairing of ourselves? How does thinking about the future of the Earth affect the way we live our lives and our political capabilities today? Doesn’t literature always develop fictional perspectives looking back from an imagined future into the immediate present? How can we describe this present—against the background of large-scale destruction, military aggression, the excessive consumption of resources? What alternatives to the existing situation are available? What spaces for thought are open to us? Where does the question of who we were lead us?

Conception: Klaus Kastberger
Organization: Agnes Altziebler

Coproduced with steirischer herbst ’22