In the preface to the 2016 International Summer Course for New Music programme booklet, the festival's artistic director, Thomas Schäfer, repeated a question that Irvine Arditti had put to him when they were discussing the Arditti Quartet's concerts: ‘shall we attack the future or dig up the past?’. This question, posed in order to establish some form of discursive framework for the course, became a subliminal trace throughout the festival. The participants' bags, for instance, were imprinted with the slogan, ‘attack the future’ and Schäfer ended his preface by stating, ‘let me call out to everyone involved, and to our audience: let's attack the future!’. The air of the festival itself, however, seemed slightly more reserved throughout its lengthy 17-day span. There were, of course, moments of theatrical flamboyance, such as Fantasises of Downfall (2015) by Johannes Kreidler, metalized void (2015/16) by Claus-Steffen Mahnkopf, The Lichtenberg Figures (2014/15) by Eva Reiter, Sideshow (2009/15) by Steven Kazuo Takasugi, EVERYTHING IS IMPORTANT (2015/16) by Jennifer Walshe, and Living Instruments (2015) by Serge Vuille. Yet, overall the atmosphere of the festival seemed to be one of quiet vigilance as events unfolded.