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Point of NEW Return 

There seem to be too many one-way streets in life. Actually, everything is irreversible. Economic, social and ecological trajectories, which, fatally, can no longer be corrected. Perhaps we have overstepped borders that make it impossible to turn back? Art will not be able to remedy this overnight. But perhaps, as it is inherently concerned with new solutions to problems, art can open up new spaces of possibility or perhaps even—as if in a pilot project—create viable new approaches? Even if it is “just” a matter of individual and social awareness-raising and realisation?
The phenomenon of composing could also be described as a practice that creates problems for itself in order to invent and try out various possible solutions. As a result, a process that in the first instance only unfolds in an apparent vacuum, far from life’s harsh realities, gains relevance and precision. For approaches must be created that can perhaps push forward into areas whose laws of motion are strictly regulated in every other respect. Often such regulation is rooted in economic considerations, also above all profit-related concerns. For this year’s Munich Biennale, international composers and artists have developed a series of diverse, intensive approaches to “Point of NEW Return” as a theme and question.  In this context there is no aesthetic or ideological common denominator with which everything tallies. Yet, for all the diversity, there is an awareness and confidence on all fronts that it is precisely in playful action and creation that we have an opportunity to rethink and shake up processes that have apparently become deadlocked. This festival seeks again and again to provide the protected space needed for that endeavour.
As a result of developments in current affairs over the last month, our festival’s title has become almost prophetic. Restrictions in our public and private lives means things have paused for all of us, which is sometimes experienced as a standstill and sometimes as rethinking and reviewing all that came before. Many people are already feeling the economic consequences of the crisis and there are likely to be huge economic losses. At the same time, as transport and tourism have ground to a halt, this year’s climate targets will be over-fulfilled. Something that long seemed impossible, namely a turn-around, a transformation of growth-driven capitalism has now—under duress—become possible and allows us to identify what is we can do without and what is really relevant. This current “Point of NEW Return” at which we all find ourselves will change us and our lives. Cultural events are indeed out of the question at the moment; overnight the news is almost exclusively about the global situation vis-à-vis the virus and its consequences. Yet it is already apparent how crucial it is for everyone to be able to engage with meaningful, transcendent and therefore artistic questions and subject-matter.
In consultation with our cooperation partners, we have decided to react flexibly to this challenge. The next edition of the Munich Biennale is dynamic. World premieres may exceptionally be held at venues that are not in Munich. These premieres are part of the now “expanded” Biennale and will, if at all possible, partly be shown in Munich in April 2021.
Our “Salon of Wonders and Views”, originally planned for ten evenings in May 2020, will now be produced in a range of locations over a longer timeframe and showcased on the Internet. It will function as a connecting link and be a kind of “cursor” in the decentralized, dynamic festival space, a topical platform for communication and discussion with guests. We hope that this will perhaps make a NEW Return possible for all those involved.
We should like to thank the City of Munich for its courage and interest, its sustained support and its confidence in giving new music theatre the kind of space that is only brought to life through performance, research and risk.

We would like to thank all sponsors and supporters for their cooperative input to the programme and their exceptional commitment. As Artistic Directors, we, together with our Dramatic Advisor, enjoy the luxury of working with the fantastic and passionate production team at Spielmotor; we are quietly aware of our gratitude to them every day, but would like to thank them explicitly here once again! And a very particular thank you must certainly go to the outstanding artistic contributors to this festival!

Daniel Ott and Manos Tsangaris,
Artistic Directors, Munich Biennale