Christoph Schlingensief, Germany’s most provocative theater director of recent times, has died from cancer at age 49. Directing plays at the most prominent theaters in the German-speaking countries, Schlingensief always considered art to be linked with politics and never shied away from a controversy.
One of his most memorable performances occurred in Vienna in 2000: After the conservative government had announced a series of laws against foreigners in Austria, Schlingensief put up a container right next to the venerable Viennese Staatsoper, inhabited by a group of foreigners whose day-to-day activities were broadcast over the internet. In Big-Brother-style, at the end of each week, audiences had a chance to vote who would be removed from the container and be deported. Schlingensief managed to cast a light on the xenophobic politics of the Austrian government and incited a lively debate about how to better integrate immigrants and asylum seekers in Austria’s society. The NYT has a brief obituary. Below is the trailer for the “Ausländer raus!” show.