CAS supports research on current representations of displacement and migration in Vienna and Central Europe
The Center for Austrian Studies is pleased to support PhD graduate student Alexis Palmer Zanghi (Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society) in examining current representations of displacement and migration in Central Europe. Please find a description of the project below.
“Containing ‘Integration’: Social practice and Vienna’s built environment”
In 2000, performance artist and filmmaker Christoph Schlingensief relocated twelve asylum seekers from a detention center outside of Vienna to a complex of five shipping containers in the city’s center for a Big Brother style reality show to be broadcast online on webfreetv.com, where Austrians voted to ‘evict’ one asylum seeker at the end of each day. Commissioned as part of the 2000 Wiener Festwochen, Bitte Liebt Österreich! (Please Love Austria! — First Austrian Coalition Week) (2000) was more than a performance: it was a participatory intervention staged within the public sphere, online and in the city’s built environment. As an installation, Please Love Austria created a private space within the public space of the festival and Vienna’s Herbert von Karajan-Platz; in doing so, Please Love Austria made the private public by exhibiting the lives of the asylum seekers as well as the opinions of Austrians.
My summer research project, “Containing ‘Integration’: Social practice and Vienna’s built environment” considers the legacy of Please Love Austria. Through interviews, archival research, and the study of several related installations, I’ll examine how such participatory interventions within the built environment represent and articulate current crises of dwelling and displacement -- housing scarcity, gentrification, and migration -- in Vienna and Central Europe.