Competition Grenze/n (Border/s)

Grenze/n (Border/s)

Open, single-stage project competition held by the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria in cooperation with ORF Steiermark for an artistic short film



The Treaty of Saint-Germain that defined the borders in the wake of the First World War was signed one hundred years ago, on 10 September 1919. The break-up or “implosion” (Helmut Konrad) of the Habsburg monarchy was followed by the drawing of new borders. Painful shifts in the population in terms of territory, family, society, language and culture on either side of the border, changes in living conditions, structures and identities are consequences that remain visible to this day.


Not only in this context is the problem of Border/s as a political-territorial, social, language-related and intellectual (“borders in people’s minds”) phenomenon and our understanding of it a major global issue in our society that we must never cease to confront.


In a world in which nation-states are increasingly setting themselves apart, preferring restrictive ideas of right and “us first” to a community of difference for political and economic reasons and favouring simple solutions, attempts are being made to convince an insecure population with a diminishing awareness of history of the necessity of visible demarcations.


Negating postcolonial consequences and operating across continents, hypercapitalist, exploitative corporations are increasingly disregarding social aspects, human rights, and responsibility. As society drifts further and further apart, biological, climate-related and other parameters impacting on the environment are ignored in a short-sighted attempt to get the best out of it for oneself. This myopic stance is manifested in daily demands for visible borders, fences and walls that appear not only absurd, but indeed cynical in a globalised world.


Fundamental questions we must ask include “What are borders?”, “How do they come about, who makes them, territorially, culturally or in our minds?”, “Do we need borders?”, “What for?” and “How do we deal with them?”.


As Bazon Brock said as recently as 2012: “Yes, neither the psychologist, nor the cultural theorist, nor the aesthetician, nor indeed the artist can readily share the general euphoria in view of the disappearance of borders. This is not about making everything disappear in the fortuity of sameness. After all, the very meaning of borders is to create meaning in the first place, because meaning only exists for people on Earth in the form of difference… The challenge is to see unity in difference and difference in unity: this is an old fundamental law of structuralism. The better we can distinguish, the more significant is that which distinguishes, albeit only in relation to the other… So that there is unity in difference and difference in unity… For if one were to abolish difference, none of these statements would have meaning, as meaning arises only on the basis of difference… The concept, then, is that we do not level down the borders but rather justify them with regard to the possibility of seeing difference itself as unity. Difference is the justification of unity, and unity produces criteria for distinction. This is the concept of civilisation.” (Bazon Brock: “Zivilisierung durch Musealisierung”, on the occasion of the Zollamt opening on 24//11/2012, in: Amtsblatt Zollamt No. 0/August 15, 2017, p. A3)



Marking the one hundredth anniversary of the drawing of the border in Styria and the current international relevance of the topic Border/s, the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria is holding a short film competition in cooperation with ORF Steiermark.

The film entries are intended to refer to the nature, purpose, history and current relevance of the topic of Border/s and to convince the TV audience.

Conscious of the fact that border is a construct that requires constant scrutiny, one which, on the one hand, appears necessary and, on the other, can be questioned, overcome, probed or shifted, the aim of the competition is to raise awareness of the issue and to investigate the real-world and the imaginary phenomenon of borders.


An expert panel will select a total of 1 to 3 winning films.

Prize-money:          1st prize: €5000.-

                               2nd prize: €3000.-

                               3rd prize: €2000.-



  • Reference to the subject of Border/s
  • Current relevance
  • Artistic quality
  • The content should convince the TV audience


REQUIREMENTS (short version):

  • Duration: max. 30 seconds
  • Format suitable for broadcasting (16:9, HD)
  • MP-4 movie
  • Refer to the call for entries/terms & conditions



The competition is intended for artists and students or graduates of an art, graphic design or film course aged 18 or older.



The selected short films will be broadcast a total of fifteen times beginning on the date of signing the Treaty of Saint-German on 10 September 2019, immediately before the Steiermark heute programme (beginning at 7pm on ORF 2).


The prizes will be presented at a separate event in the regional ORF studio for Styria. All media will be invited, with ORF Steiermark promoting and covering the event.


All winning films and other films on a selected shortlist will be presented at the Zollamt in Bad Radkersburg from 29 August until 1 September as part of the Transborders project organised by the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria.



Competition entries can be uploaded to the following website until 5 July 2019:


To avoid any loss, please request confirmation of receipt of your entry.

Art in Public Space

Marienplatz 1/1
8020 Graz, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9265