Mobilizing the Public Sphere: Schlingensief's Reality Theatre

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Journal Article
Contemporary Theatre Review, 2008, 18 (1), pp. 90 - 98
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This essay focuses on Bitte Liebt Osterreich (Please Love Austria) 'a week-long performance/multi-media event staged in Vienna in 2000 by German artist Christoph Schlingensief in an attempt to mobilize public debate about the xenophobic, anti-immigration policies of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPO ). Inspired by the format of Big Brother, Schlingensief installed a large shipping container in the centre of Vienna that served as a temporary dwelling for asylum seekers from countries such as China, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Iran ï½ the everyday activities of whom were broadcast live on the internet at where viewers were encouraged to vote out their least favourite housemate. As the event unfolded, both the evictions and the large `Auslander Raus' (Foreigners Out) sign installed on top of the container generated much public outcry and debate both on the street and in the media.
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