Foreigners out! Schlingensiefs Container Favorite 



Jun 11 2000


Badger & Winters, Austria

Foreigners out! Schlingensiefs Container (Ausländer raus! Schlingensiefs Container), alternately named "Wien-Aktion", "Please Love Austria—First European Coalition Week", or "Foreigners Out—Artists against Human Rights", is an art project and television show from 2000 that took place within the scope of the annual Wiener Festwochen. It was created by Christoph Schlingensief and directed by Paul Poet. Realising public xenophobia and the new hate politics in the most drastic ways possible, he installed a public concentration camp right in the middle of Vienna. The film and performance was made in a style that imitated the show Big Brother. It was critically aimed both at certain forms of television entertainment and at a latent xenophobia still thriving in the whole world. It created an incredibly heated week, capturing the European right-wing drift in real time and exposing dormant and open xenophobia for the world to see.

Shortly before Schlingensief came up with this project, the Freedom Party of Austria, under the leadership of Jörg Haider had been elected into the National Council of Austria and formed part of the new government.

The basis of the show was that a dozen or so real life asylum seekers lived inside containers. However, instead of being voted out of the show, the candidates were to be voted out of the country. Creating and utilizing such a situation of living in a strictly confined area, not knowing what would happen next, was to remind the audience of Nazi concentration camps, pointing at and making artistic use of existing parallels between the Nazi camps and television formats like Big Brother.

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From the Guardian: "There have been furious reactions from Austrians outside the portable offices in which the foreigners are housed. "Where is the swine who authorised this?", one man asked. "They showed these containers on television in Paris. In France, people are pointing to us and thinking this is a country of Nazis." The Freedom party has threatened to sue over Mr Schlingensief's use of its symbols and announced that it will seek a vote of no confidence in the Vienna city councillor who approved the event."