Nicht durch unser Wohnen auf dem Heimatboden, nicht durch unsere leibliche Berührung in Handel und Wandel, sondern durch ein geistiges Anhangen vor allem sind wir zur Gemeinschaft verbunden. […] In einer Sprache finden wir uns zueinander, die völlig etwas anderes ist als das bloße natürliche Verständigungsmittel; denn in ihr redet Vergangenes zu uns, Kräfte wirken auf uns ein und werden unmittelbar gewaltig, denen die politischen Einrichtungen weder Raum zu geben, noch Schranken zu setzen mächtig sind, ein eigentümlicher Zusammenhang wird wirksam […], wir ahnen dahinter ein Etwas waltend, das wir den Geist der Nation zu nennen uns getrauen.
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Integration is like dancing the Valzer
Homo Sacher’s general concept is strictly related to the theoretical frame developed during The Violated Body #1 project insofar as its main purpose is the one of “making visible those forms of symbolic violence that are so near to us and so intimately connected to us that they can’t be perceived”.
The title “Homo Sacher” alludes to both, the juridical vulnerability of the immigrant as being “abandoned to (the law), that is, exposed and risked at the threshold in which life and right, inside and outside become blurred” as the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben describes it in his seminal work work Homo Sacer (Sacred Man), and to the Sacher Torte as an emblematic, touristic symbol of Vienna’s cultural brand image with global notoriety. The term “Homo”, in this case, implicitly refers to a process of naturalization of certain elements that somehow define the self-perception of Austrian population as a “Volk” and which often stays at the core of the political discourses of conservative right-wings parties.
From this perspective, the project focuses on the so-called “problem” of immigration and integration within the Austrian socio-political reality. It aims at grotesquely radicalising the problem by fully embracing the conservative pragmatism that nowadays animates not only the debate around these issues, but also the political strategy that is given shape by the establishment. Like, for example, the `100 Top-Migrants´ initiative by Sebastian Kurz, the new State Secretary for Integration in Austria.
The use of modern technologies in embedding a certain poetics of integration aims at pointing out how new mobile technologies, in the perception we commonly have of them as tools that help to efficiently organize the interaction between the subject and the social, political and economic reality around him or her, are also desirable tools of control. Or, as Michel Foucault had put it, self-surveillance that could be used by political power structures in order to implement and realize their integration politics.
ARTPHILEIN – Institut für Kunstforschung (A-IKF) has been founded in Vienna in March 2011. Its activities are characterised by applying permeable models of scientific and artistic research and an `indisciplinary´ (J. Rancière) approach. Its focus is on longterm projects that deal with topics relevant for the humanities and cultural sciences alike.
As first outcome of the in(ter)disciplinary collaboration, the commercial trailer for the future App HOMO SACHER – Step 1: Formulation of the problem, will be presented in the frame of the festival "Coded Cultures – The City as Interface" in Vienna.