April 14, 6 pm
Film screening and panel discussion

Representing Saualm

The film «Representing Saualm» was produced by students in the Department of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Klagenfurt as part of their coursework, in collaboration with filmmaker Robert Schabus and artist Zeigam Azizov. The Saualm case achieved unfortunate notoriety as an example of the extremes to which Austrian asylum policies can lead. A group of asylum seekers were made to look like criminals by state politicians, and in some cases by the media, and were banished to an abandoned orphanage on the remote Saualm mountain pasture. This incident is symptomatic of the random acts brought forth by an increasingly cavalier attitude toward human rights and international conventions for the protection of refugees. The fact that here a very small group of people became the central object of a populist politics of exclusion over a long period of time seems virtually paradigmatic for a political and media discourse in Austria that constructs pseudo-problems in an effort to distract attention from serious social challenges by focusing on simple «us against them» antagonisms. «Representing Saualm» primarily investigates the role of the media in establishing an alleged «problem». Journalists, politicians, scholars and representatives of NGOs involved in refugee support express their views on the relationship between politics and media in shaping public opinion. Passersby voice their «personal opinions» and asylum seekers at Saualm articulate both their own experiences and their skeptical view of media interest in an authentic depiction of their «fate».

Recorded in: XDCAM EX
25 Min
Produced as part of the course «Representation as a signifying practice: Representing Saualm», Department of Media and Communication Studies at Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt
Script, Camera, Editing: Course participants
Course led by: Zeigam Azizov, Robert Schabus
Participants in the course: Stefan Horst Eder, Beora Gogulka, Clemens Graf, Andrea Hrastnik, Kerstin Holzmann, Christoph Jäger, Catherine-Marie Kronjäger, Georg Lotz, Dominik Markel, Sarah-Christina Puschnegg, Monika Skazedonig, Hermann Weissitsch
With thanks to: Angelika Hödl, Kunstraum Lakeside and all the interview partners

A panel discussion will be held on the film «Representing Saualm» as well as on the current situation of asylum seekers in the state of Carinthia and in Austria as a whole. With Zeigam Azizov (artist), Robert Schabus (filmmaker), Arbi Baidarow (journalist and refugee), Anny Knapp (Asylum Coordination Austria), Siegfried Stupnig (Verein Aspis).