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Image: David Baltzer
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Christoph Schlingensief makes his own contribution to the 2000 Vienna International Festival by organising the reality TV event PLEASE LOVE AUSTRIA - FIRST AUSTRIAN COALITION WEEK.

Amid intense public interest, twelve participants introduced by Schlingensief as asylum-seekers spend one week in a cordoned-off, CCTVed shipping container complex next to the Vienna opera house. Blue flags representing Austria's far-right populist FPÖ party are hoisted on top of a container.

Picture from the performance "Please love Austria" (Image: Baltzer)

As onlookers applaud ambiguously, a sign bearing the slogan "Ausländer raus" ("Foreigners out") is unveiled and then attached to the container together with the logo of the Kronenzeitung, Austria's biggest-selling tabloid.

Excerpts from speeches by FPÖ chairman Jörg Haider resound across Herbert-von-Karajan-Platz. With clear references to the BIG BROTHER TV show, the Austrian population are asked to phone in and vote out inhabitants, the two least popular of which are ejected each day. Votes can also be cast via the Internet, where Webfreetv broadcasts events from the container live - 24 hours a day for a period of six days.

Picture from the performance "Please love Austria" (Still: Paul Poet)

The square is regularly visited by high-profile "patrons" such as acclaimed writer Elfriede Jelinek and political figures Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Gregor Gysi, who then obligingly provide status reports.

Every morning at eight o'clock, two residents are ejected from the container to be deported to their native country. The winner can look forward to a cash prize and the prospect, depending on the availability of volunteers, of Austrian citizenship through marriage. Jens Jessen summed up as follows in DIE ZEIT: "There can hardly be a clearer illustration of the inextricable links between the stage-managed cynicism of TV and the objective cynicism of a society that judges asylum policy on the basis of its majority mandate while ignoring moral values."

Picture from the performance "Please love Austria" (Image: Baltzer)

Picture from the performance "Please love Austria" (Still: Paul Poet

Picture from the performance "Please love Austria" (Image: Baltzer)

Additional information on Schlingensief and the project

- Please love Austria Gallery - More impressions from "Please love Austria"
- "Totally confusing supposed unambiguities" - by Marion Löhndorf, Kunstforum
- It's not going - biography by the Guggenheim Museum New York (1998)
- Christoph Schlingensief - A biography by Till Briegleb, Goethe Institut
- Schlingensief.com German - Further information is available in german only

Please love Austria - First Austrian Coalition Week
Vienna International Festival

Director: Christoph Schlingensief

Stage design: Nina Wetzel; Coordination: Claudia Kaloff; Dramaturgy: Matthias Lilienthal; Production: Gabriele Kaiba; Attila Láng; Hannes Sulzenbacher; Assistant director: Mario Rauter; Assistant producer: Katharina Gruber; Sound: Ernst Zettl; Technicians: Reinhold Hoffmann; Martin Kindermann; Assistant stage designer: Elisabeth Steger; Patrons: Paulus Manker; Elfriede Jelinek; Luc Bondy; Josef Bierbichler; Daniel Cohn-Bendit

June 9. - 16. 2000

Additional information

- Picture Gallery

External web sites

- Performance-Website