“The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters.”

Antonio Gramsci’s remarks on the emerging spectre of fascism date back to the 1920s. Yet their relevance to the autumn of 2016 cannot be overlooked. While post-war political and social regimes currently struggle to stay afloat, swift and scorching global developments have rebirthed an all too familiar set of horrors: nationalism, chauvinism and isolationism are making a comeback, this time on an international scale.

Donald Trump in the US, the Brexit vote in the UK and an Austrian presidential candidate wearing a blue cornflower in his lapel: Their common thread is not only blatant lies, xenophobia and a deliberate transgression of social norms, but also brazen references to ‘the will of the people’ or the ‘silent majority’ that is in need of a voice or a ‘champion’. The poisonous potential of this notion is most palpable in Germany, where the Pegida movement – no less than 70 years after the collapse of the Nazi regime – has rekindled a vision of the German Volk as an ethnically homogeneous community bound by a common ‘destiny’ which must be protected against all types of foreign ‘invasion’.

But in these populist, post-political and nationalist-fascist interpretations, das Volk remains largely undefined. It is a chimera, a political delusion conjuring up a collective actor that clamours for a fiat-based resolution to the paradoxes of modern capitalist societies. Yet originally, the ‘people’ was not merely used to describe the authoritarian notion of a binding fate that links people and their rulers. ‘We the People’ can also be the dissenting and unruly masses, the demos, the solidary, responsible and, at times, civilly disobedient citizens of a free and open democracy. The discourse that portrays the people as a silent, alt-right majority not only distracts attention from a deep-seated crisis in contemporary late-capitalist societies and their institutions, but also conceals the growing and real resentments against a clearly dysfunctional system on an international scale. The bearers of these resentments are not swayed or tempted by nationalistic tirades. The subject of this international resistance is not ‘the people’ but the increasingly heterogeneous 'multitudes' which are still taking shape and whose future path remains open.

In the wake of recent political events, WERK X has dedicated its 2016/2017 season to the various dimensions of populace or das Volk. We will feature critical perspectives on contemporary monsters, neo-nationalistic and neo-fascist as well as the contours of a ‘coming community’ (Giorgio Agamben), defined by an unconditionality that eliminates the very need for membership.


About WERK X

WERK X is a newly founded theater in Vienna that works to show the most exciting and innovative work in progressive theatre and performative arts to the Vienna audience. It has been established in 2014 after the former GARAGE X and the former sociocultural “Stadtlabor Kabelwerk” had been converged to the new theatre.

WERK X aims at providing a space for engaged artistic work beyond the repertoire of the state theatres. It follows an artistic approach that stands in favour of a critical view on the contemporary social order and works towards an understanding of art and theatre as a vital part of any democratic society.


Please note that we do not provide all content in english. However, detailed information regarding the productions and projects at the WERK X-venues will be complemented within the next days. If you need further information, feel free to contact us.