We need to talk

Never have there been as many communication channels as there are today. Never has there been so much talking. In print media, in online media and the respective comment sections, on social media channels, on tv, on podcasts and at the countless live events that are at our disposal every day, people are sending, sending, sending. It’s hard to keep an overview. Who should one listen to anyway?

So, we’re communicating endlessly. But are we actually communicating with each other or at each other? Even though many of the new media are set-up for discussions, they seem more like bins for dumped opinions. Hardly anyone bothers to take up something that has been said and develops a counter-argument. Or when did you last have a good debate? When was the last time that you really listened? When was the last time you heard something from a friend that you hadn’t known before? When was the last time you talked to a stranger? (“Sorry, can I get past?” doesn’t count.)

Our 14 guest productions all have a lot to say about talking. They revolve around explaining, rapping, negotiating and consent, around facts and rumours, around silent communication and uncontrolled vocalisation – but also around the moment when words fail. And it becomes obvious: Communication is transfer of knowledge. Those who talk to each other learn from each other. The artists come from England, France, Germany, Poland, Mexico, Estonia, New Zeeland, Belgium and Switzerland. So, brace yourself for a multilingual festival in German, English, Spanish, French, Polish and in Sign Language. But don’t worry, you’ll understand.

You don’t just have to watch passively, though. You can acquire communication-relevant knowledge in four crash courses – from countering populist clichés to discussing gender-neutrally. And in five conversations you can really get active and talk as much as you want. In three of those conversations we will be talking with artists from the festival and in two are built around topics. And each conversation has its unique format which will affect our way of talking to each other.

But of course, there will also be plenty of opportunity for completely informal chats. For example, on Saturday and Sunday afternoons with coffee and cake in our Festival Centre at Grosse Halle. We are building an XL Festival Centre at the newly renovated hall this year! Here you can find a bar, restaurant, the crash courses and conversations, three productions, a film, a panel discussion and four gigs. And late at night, when all has been said, we’ll move our hips to the beats.

We’re looking forward to twelve days of festival with you! And who knows, we might even strike up a conversation together.

Your aua team