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TfC Lunchtime Series: Tara Forrest & Antonella Biscaro, 16 May


Please be invited to the 2012 TfC Lunchtime Series:


When: Wednesday, 16th May, 12.30 to 1.30 PM
Where: TfC Bagel, UTS Building 10, 235 Jones St, Ultimo, Level 5, Room 219 (follow the signs to the 'TfC Bagel')

Tara Forrest, Senior Lecturer, UTS Cultural Studies, TFC.

‘Inhospitable Television: Schlingensief’s Reality Experiments’

When German artist Christoph Schlingensief died in 2010 he had amassed an impressive body of work spanning a diverse range of fields, including film, television, theatre, art, radio, activism, and opera. Although he gained a certain notoriety for his experimental film and performance work, it was through his politically engaged re-enactment of a series of popular reality television programs that his public profile in Germany was cemented. This paper focuses on the 2002 pilot episode of Quiz 3000, a program that was modelled closely on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Drawing on Alexander Kluge’s delineation of the task of a realistic method, I will argue that the questions that feature on Schlingensief’s program undermine the passive, hospitable relationship generated by the audience’s familiarity with the quiz show format and, in doing so, encourage viewers to become active participants in the meaning-making process.

Antonella Biscaro, TFC

Migration(s), Italy’s backward complex and Europe at the turn of the twenty first century. The fabrication of a respectable Italian identity in a field of tensions.

Between the late 1990s and mid 2000s Italy found itself negotiating mechanisms for inclusion versus exclusion into the national community of a growing immigrant population and a still considerable Italian diaspora. As laws on immigration and emigration were being discussed, political debates provided the arena for the re-articulation of Italian identity and ideas of Italian-ness. Yet this occurred against the backdrop to as a series of international and national epoch shifting events that shook the country’s weak sense of nationhood and further complicated the scene.

The end of the Cold War and its impact on relations of power within national politics, a series of widespread corruption scandals concerning main stream political parties, and the uncertainties associated with the European integration process re-ignited insecurities and deeply rooted myths of national identity: that of Italy’s backwardness and doubtful Western-ness. In this context immigration and emigration debates served as the discursive arena through and in which such fears could be dispelled and Italian Western-ness re-affirmed.

Here there are identified at least three ways in which this occurred. First with Europe, or rather ideas of Europe defining the terms against which Italian backwardness has historically been measured, the very approval of the new migration bills – the conditio sine qua non for full participationinto the EU project - become entangled in the becoming European of Italy. Second confirming Italy’s desirability as a destination country, migrants served as a marker of Italians’ upward mobility, hierarchically and contingently included into the national community by being assigned to lower skilled jobs. Last, Italy’s Europe-ness and hierarchical inclusion of migrants were further reinforced by the re-appearance of discourses of emigration in narratives of nation, as new bills to increase the rights of the long neglected Italian diaspora were approved at the turn of the century.


Free event. All welcome.

Click here for the full program.

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