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Celebrations: Festkultur in Austria

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in workshop, seminar, course


Walter Wippersberg is best known for his hilarious, made-for-television ‘fake documentary’ Das Fest des Huhnes (1992). The film is an unlikely documentary on the ‘tribes’ of Upper Austria, their customs, rites, and traditions. In reversing the usual anthropological gaze, Wippersberg posits a view of primitive Austria as seen by sophisticated African documentary-makers and examines some of the everyday festivities of the rural community, complete with beer tents, drinking and eating habits, and dancing preferences. The film within the film tries to make sense, too, of religious symbols and practices. Whilst Wippersberg frames the Volksfest with humorous intent, serious questions are raised by the film about the nature of the gaze – both the foreign gaze and the touristic gaze. This paper will situate Wippersberg’s film vis-à-vis his other work, in particular his film Die Wahrheit über Österreich (2001), but also with regard to his trilogy of novels, Die Irren und die Mörder, Ein nützlicher Idiot, and Die Geschichte eines lächerlichen Mannes (late 90s). Film director and author Walter Wippersberg died this year (31 January 2016), and this contribution is framed, too, as a celebratory contribution and reading of his work

Event (Conference)

TitleCelebrations: Festkultur in Austria
LocationSenate House, University of London
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Degree of recognitionInternational event