Exotic Fantasies in ‚Austrian‘ Art and Literature since the Baroque 1

First broadcast: Mon 15.06.2015, 11.00 Uhr MEZ
Rerun: Wed 01.07.2015, 21.00 Uhr MEZ
A Broadcast in collaboration with: Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, Walter Sauer

During her fellowship at Büchsenhausen, Fine Art Fellow Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa has been continuing work on a moving image project she began in 2012 which explores the largely forgotten story of the 30,000 European refugees who lived in refugee camps in East Africa during and after the Second World War.

This work also investigates how this by now near invisible event forms part of a longer history of utopian European settlements in this region of Africa – one of which, the “Freeland Project”, was the brainchild of the Austrian economist Theodor Hertzka (1845–1924), who attempted to establish the ideal society as a European settler colony in present-day Kenya. Why have so many Europeans historically perceived East Africa as paradisaical? Where do they get this idea from?

This Salon evening aims to contextualize Hertzka’s ideas and world view by looking at his work in relation to other representations of ‘foreign’ cultures and ‘foreign’ lands that have occurred in Austrian culture over the past 300 years.

The evening will comprise presentations on Theodor Hertzka, and of the idea of Africa that emerges from his 1890 novel “Freiland,” on the changing representation of the baptism of Africans in Austrian religious art, on the Austrian novelist Peter Altenberg, and the Ashanti Village in 19th-century Vienna, and on the construction and consumption of ‘exotic foreignness’ in Austrian popular culture. And because it is through the articulation of difference that the self is in turn defined (“I” versus “Not I”), in the discussion that follows, together the speakers and the audience will explore what these representations reveal about changing concepts of Austria and Austrian-ness.

Quelle: https://cba.fro.at/301950

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Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa, *1976 in Glasgow, GB, studied English Literature at Cambridge University / GB (1995–98) and Fine Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (2006–08). Prior to joining the UdK Graduiertenschule, Berlin (2012–14), she was a participant in the LUX Associate Artists Programme / GB (2009) and a Fine Art Researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie / NL (2012). Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa works in a wide range of media, which include installation, sound, video, photography, printmaking and drawing. She has also recently started writing.
In 2014-15 she participated in the Fellowship Program for Art and Theory at the Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen.


Walter Sauer is professor at the Institute of Economic and Social History of the Vienna University. He was the last chairman of the Austrian Anti-Apartheid Movement. In 1993 he co-founded (together with Elfriede Pekny) the Southern Africa Documentation and Cooperation Centre (SADOCC). Walter Sauer has published extensively on the Austrian colonialism in Africa, on migration and the development of Southern Africa. His last book is “Expeditionen ins afrikanische Österreich.” (english: Expeditions into the African Austria: A Caleidoscopical Travel, 2014).