UMJ Newsletter Aussendung.

The immersive exhibition ‘Atmospheres – Art, Climate and Space Research’ from Austria was opened in the Austrian Cultural Forum

New York, Nov. 14th, 2023


Mounted every two years, SHOWING STYRIA is a forward-looking exhibition format that has set itself the goal of tackling current, controversial issues that our society must confront, examining them both the artistic and scientific angle. Initiated by the Styrian Provincial Government and realised by the Universalmuseum Joanneum – the oldest and second largest museum in Austria – the show works through themes reflective of our times, taking innovative and highly unusual exhibition formats to the most varied locations in Styria – and Austria, too. This year’s SHOWING STYRIA is dedicated to biodiversity, to the Diversity of Life. Part of this is a mobile pavilion, an exhibition element that takes up the show’s content. This year it engages with ‘atmospheres’, which provide the basic conditions for the diversity of life. The show is created using synergies between art, technology and research. A part of this presentation space is now specially hosted in New York. Opened today, November 13, 2023 in the Austrian Cultural Forum, the exhibition combines video art, experimental film, contemporary composition and research.


State Governor Christopher Drexler: ‘With the mini-pavilion we are exporting a piece of Styria to the “Big Apple”. Functioning like a Styrian ambassador in the midst of New York, it presents an extract from our varied cultural scene. We are delighted to break into one the world’s most important cultural hot spots in this way, and to be able to send a strong, powerful signal from Styria. In this way, we are shifting the “green heart” of Austria into the bright light of international public attention, showcasing our region as one of culture.’

The Opening at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York: Alexander Kada (pavilion design), Astrid Kury (curation), Christopher Drexler (state govenor of styria) and the artists Azra Aksamija, Michaela Grill, Benedikt Justus Alphart, photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/J.J. Kucek

SHOWING STYRIA, at its premiere in 2021, was already dedicated to present-day issues: the development, identity and future options open to many areas of Styria as seen from the perspectives of science, culture and art. The second edition in 2023 titled ‘Diversity of Life’ has shed light on the importance of, and threat to, biodiversity. The Herberstein Animal World in Styria served as the main location of the show, which was on display from April 29 to November 5. The Animal World was also made complete on site by the added presence of the mobile pavilion.


The mobile pavilion
With a surface area of some 700 square metres and a thirty-metre long, curved screen, the mobile pavilion accompanied SHOWING STYRIA as an open-air museum. It invited visitors to undertake an immersive journey through the realms of the atmosphere, climate and space exploration. International artists and researchers with a connection to Styria have worked together on this exhibition. A total of 10 video contributions by 17 artists from 9 countries and 11 research statements by 22 scientists from 12 countries were shown, covering atmospheres both on Earth and on other planets.


For this, recognised research institutes such as the Space Research Institute, the Medical University of Graz, or the International Research Center for Cultural Studies at the Linz University of Art and Design in Vienna have successfully been brought in for the scientific contributions. Internationally renowned artists were responsible for the artistic contributions, which dare to look sky-wards and pursue the question of mankind’s place in the world.


Both art and research are devoted to the mysterious by their very nature. This is especially the case with research into space, where with every step we come up against the very boundaries of what is conceivable. In a similar way, art time and again unveils surprising and poetic perspectives on our world. What would it be like to live in completely different atmospheres? Since the discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995, an astonishing variety of atmospheres has been found on other plants. At the same time, this experience with an alien sky is one that we may also have on Earth in the course of climate change.

The exhibition in the pavilion shows young art and the latest research on atmospheres and asks about life-friendly conditions in times of climate change, photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/J.J. Kucek

The mobile pavilion as an international ambassador

A specially produced miniature version of the mobile pavilion’s presentation room with the same content is now travelling around as an international ambassador. The filmic contributions on the topics of art, climate change and space exploration turn into an immersive experience on a semi-circular screen, supported by a special sound module. Collaborations with international cultural forums have been agreed in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria and the Province of Styria.


‘The contents of the mobile pavilion combine art and science in a unique way, opening doors to new perspectives and insights. By means of aesthetic video and sound contributions, they raise awareness among visitors for what is often seen as self-evident: a city worth living in, a country worth living in, a planet hospitable to life. As an accompaniment to SHOWING STYRIA, the pavilion takes up the question of conditions that making living worthwhile, seen from the artistic and scientific viewpoint. My sincere thanks are due to Dr. Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger and the whole team at the Austrian Cultural Forum for the opportunity to be able now to present these sensitive – and for all of us equally vital – themes in New York, too, and so reach an international audience’, in the words of Marko Mele, Director of Science at the Universalmuseum Joanneum.

Josef Schrammel (Director of Finance Universalmuseum Joanneum), Susanne Keppler-Schlesinger (Director of the Austrian Cultural Forum New York), Christopher Drexler (Governor of Styria), Petra Schneebauer (Ambassador), Marko Mele (Director of Science Universalmuseum Joanneum), photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum / J.J. Kucek

Today, on November 13, 2023, the exhibition was officially opened at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York in the presence of Styrian Governor Christopher Drexler, the directors of the Universalmuseum Joanneum, Marko Mele and Josef Schrammel, as well as a small Styrian delegation. Among them were four artists from the exhibition, Benedikt Justus Alphart, Michaela Grill and Azra Aksamija.


The exhibition will be on show in New York until January 7, 2024 before travelling on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from January 15 to February 28. The cooperation with MIT is further proof of the exhibition’s relevance on the international stage.


State Governor Christopher Drexler: ‘Styria is varied more than any other federal province. It is a region of culture. It is a region with a strong emphasis on research. All the fitting therefore that the mini-pavilion is headed toward the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a centre of science, following the cultural hot spot of New York. The pavilion represents the interweaving of Styrian culture with Styrian science, showing how special the green heart is. Styrian variety thus radiates beyond the regional borders, as far even as the United States.’






Exhibition opening: NOVEMBER 13, 2023 at 7 pm

Duration: November 14, 2023 - January 7, 2024, daily from 10 am – 6 pm

Austrian Cultural Forum New York,

11 East 52nd Street, New York


Detailed information on the exhibitions contents, as well as the artists’ work can be found HERE

Picture material on the exhibition opening in New York can be found HERE





We look forward to your reports and are happy to answer any questions you may have.


Daniela Teuschler

Stephanie Liebmann

Eva Sappl