Christoph Schlingensief 1960-2010
Foreigners out! Schlingensiefs Container (2002)
Duration: 68 minutes
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 conceptually designed by Christoph Schlingensief and directed by Paul Poet, and was styled as a mockery of popular TV program format Big Brother. It was critically aimed both at certain forms of television entertainment and at a latent xenophobia still thriving in the whole world.
The show was produced in Austria, and broadcast from the container set installed in Vienna. 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 concept of the show was that a dozen real asylum seekers lived inside containers, but instead of being voted out of the show (like in Big Brother), 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.
Installing TV programs and other projects as mockeries of well-known existing formats is part of Schlingensief's methodology. In another show broadcast in Germany, Freakstars 3000, he set up a talent cast show where all candidates where mentally handicapped. In the theatre project Quiz 3000 (the '3000' was a recurring trademark of Schlingensief), he mocked the show Who wants to be a millionaire?, using questions like "Please sort the following concentration camps from north to south".