After five presentation cycles, “open systems” has established itself. Fortunately, this does not mean that this festival for contemporary music, performance, dance and sound art has become more comfortably accommodating. If, all the same, it appeals to more and more people, then that is because of the growing number of listeners who are willing to follow the performers into new artistic territories, leaving familiar ground behind and sharpening all of their senses in order to make their way through thickets of unfamiliar tones and images. Time and again, “open systems” dares to push forward into the borderlands between various artistic disciplines in which the art forms of music and movement are especially experimental and full of innovative power. This power is part of the cultural impulse, which impressed a jury of renowned experts so deeply that they recommended Essen and the Ruhr region as having excellent chances of being named the Cultural Capitol of Europe for the year 2010.

The festival projects will be performed in Dortmund, Bochum, Essen and Herne. In Essen the new Philharmonie will be, for the first time, the venue for an “open systems” presentation in which both artists and listeners will profit from a location with an inspiring aura which will offer a fitting context for a concert of the superlative in cooperation with the international festival “November Music”. This joint venture has developed into a fruitful exchange, which helps to insure the qualitative high expectations of “open systems”. The same goal should be served by the decision that the festival only be held every two years so that the free year between festivals can be used for meticulous planning. In this way, artistic excellence can remain the ultimate standard for success and need not be subjugated to the pragmatic necessities of deadlines.

I am very pleased by the intensification of regional cooperation and am especially happy that so many people in the Ruhr region have come to value “open systems”. I wish all of you stimulating artistic impulses.

Dr. Oliver Scheytt
City deputy for culture, youth and education for the city of Essen

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