Arts & Culture

“Art permeates all other things at Alpbach” - EFA23 guest curator Yana Barinova


As a guest curator for the Arts and Culture programme, Yana Barinova will integrate an artistic frame of reference into the event. From its beginnings, the European Forum Alpbach has always desired to bring together the arts and sciences. Alpbach is a place where ideas for a pluralistic society come to life.

Accessibility is central to Yana Barinova’s artistic approach. She creates unusual encounters in unexpected circumstances. As a result, EFA participants will find themselves interacting with arts and culture throughout the entire conference, through guided tours, hikes with artists, chats, and performances.

IMG 6815

Yana Barinova (foto credit: Valerie Maltseva)

"The notion of coexistence is crucial in today's world, as we strive to create more inclusive and accepting societies. I believe the arts can also uncover profoundly transformative experiences of living without borders, constantly migrating, and being a nomad."


Artistically, Barinova's focus in Alpbach will be on mobility and movement. When thinking of physical relocation, the topic of displacement comes to mind: increasing numbers of people are being forced to leave their homes – around the world and within Europe. Whether they seek protection from armed conflict or authoritarian regimes, or flee due to climate emergencies, forced resettlement is always painful and requires courage. Departure in one place calls for new beginnings in others. Diaspora communities remind us Europeans of our past and bring it to the present: fluid borders and shifting demographics are part of our identity.

EFA23's arts and culture programme will address the struggle of European societies to welcome their newcomers, as well as the wider aspirations for a peaceful coexistence of humans and nature. Austrian artist Deborah Sengl and Ukrainian artist Elena Subach will collaborate on an installation highlighting the struggle of refugees and displaced persons; Austrian-Iranian artist Soli Kiani’s work addresses loss of control and women’s rights in societies ruled by ideologies.

Ultimately, Barinova’s overall concept of mobility implies constant change – and such movement challenges Europe to boldly take a stand.


Yana Barinova was chosen for her broad experience in cultural mediation. She was born in Odesa in 1989 and graduated from the Sorbonne University with a PhD in Arts and Sciences. She was Director of the Department of Culture in Kyiv, Ukraine before the Russian war of aggression began on 24 February 2022. She then moved to Vienna with her daughter. She has since curated an exhibition at Vienna’s Künstlerhaus, co-curated the GMUNDEN.PHOTO festival, and currently works at the ERSTE Foundation on European Policies and Ukrainian relations and at viennacontemporary on International Development.

Artists at the European Forum Alpbach event 2023:

Deborah Sengl


To flee is to escape and it holds the promise of freedom from war and crisis. Seeking refuge does not always work and more often than not it is just the beginning of an arduous journey. The way to a better and peaceful future leads most people into reception camps of inhumane conditions. Expecting protection and help there, they find themselves far from rebuilding a new existence. This disgraceful setting is visualised at EFA23 by Deborah Sengl’s installation of an actual refugee tent, in which a sound installation immerses visitor in the situation.

Artist's bio

Deborah Sengl was born in Vienna in 1975. Since 1995 she has exhibited in Austria and abroad.

Deborah Sengl sitzend Credit David Visnjic2

Deborah Sengl (foto credit: David Visnjic)

Elena Subach


In the first days of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, Ukrainian photographer Elena Subach was part of a group of volunteers supporting refugees in Uzhgorod near the Ukrainian-Slovakian border. She began to take pictures of the improvised architecture that developed to meet an urgent need. Abandoned chairs seemed to Subach like ‘islands among waves of people, that is, places where one could stop and rest for a moment’. The ‘Chairs’ series tells a powerful story of displacement and war, but also of compassion and empathy with people in need.

Artists' bio

Elena Subach is a Ukrainian visual artist and photographer. Born 1980 in Chervonohrad, Ukraine, she is currently based in Lviv, Ukraine.

Portrait Elena small

Elena Subach (Nordic House)

Soli Kiani

Knot series

What happens when every aspect of daily life is governed by ideology? What are the consequences of resistance in a country where dissent is against the law? What is the value of self-determination in societies that exert control over people’s private lives? In her work, Soli Kiani portrays the absolute loss of freedom and human rights. In Alpbach you will see a sculpture from the Knot series.

Artist's bio

Soli Kiani, born in Shiraz, Iran, has worked in Vienna since 2000. In 2023 she was awarded the Austrian State Scholarship for Contemporary Art.

Soli Kiani Elisabeth Mandl

Soli Kiani (foto credit: Elisabeth Mandl)

Natalia Domínguez Rangel

bleeding blue

A sound installation that aims to shed light on ocean noise pollution and its detrimental effects on marine life, featuring audio archives from various experts including marine biologists, scientists, and sound artists. The recordings will be played in the bathrooms of the Congress Centrum Alpbach, creating a juxtaposition between the raw sounds of the ocean and the intrusion of human activity into the underwater environment.

Artist's bio

Domínguez Rangel’s artwork includes installations, sculptures, and performances. She connects architecture, acoustics, technology, and nature. She has exhibited her work throughout Europe and Latin America in various contexts - from festivals, to galleries, museums, and interventions in public space. Since 2017 she has been a lecturer in the field of sound studies at the Design Art Technology department of ArtEZ, Arnhem, NL.

Natalia Dominguez Rangel Simon Veres

Natalia Domínguez Rangel (foto credit: Simon Veres)

Rojin Sharafi

Artist's bio

Rojin Sharafi is a Vienna-based, Tehran-born soundartist, performer and composer of acoustic and electronic music. She is a SHAPE 2020 artist and recipient of the 2018 Austrian female Composers prize.

Rojin Sharafic Hessam Samavatian 13

Rojin Sharafi (foto credit: Hessam Samavatian)

Meet the artists at the forum:

Find the schedule here