Prof. Zinganel: Images produce desires for a better Life

On the occasion of the presentation of the European Tolerance Talks 2018 in Vienna, the Salzburg historian and architectural theorist Michael Zinganel presented his theses on mobility and migration in the Alps-Adriatic region. Using numerous examples, Zinganel pointed out that it is above all the enormous expectations that bring people on their way, and these in turn are the result of the flood of images that are currently going through the social networks in seconds around the world.

Protected areas and rituals to avoid conflicts

For some it is simply about a better life, because in their homeland they have no hope and prospects for the future, for the others it is the attraction of the new, experience and adventure. In tourism, protective zones (“backstages”) have already been set up and rituals developed, otherwise there would be constant rattle between guests and locals, said Zinganel, reminding of “social programs” for British post-season tourists, so they do not devastate the resort, to leaflets for others Cultural circles or also to the “Russian young oligarch rush” and the “Arab invasion” in Zell am See.

Departure into the unknown

Improving infrastructure and modern communication technologies have made information about where there is a better life available everywhere. The people of developing countries are exposed to a sea of ​​images and misinformation and set off in the expectation on the way to participate in the beautiful life in Europe, if they only reach their destination. The others drive away in the wake of the previous, from which only “success stories” get home. Because the first have to argue the high travel costs, a failure is therefore out of the question.

Multi-organ failure of the West

Zinganel spoke of a “complex multi-organ failure” of the world community and sees little hope that these migratory flows could be contained. The best programs in developing countries to retain their talents in the country fail because the images of a better life in Europe or America that have been pouring in for thirty years are just more “cool”. “Everyone knows someone who has found a better life,” says Zinganel. The tragic aspect is that hardly any negative experiences spill back into developing countries.

Background: Michael Zinganel curates exhibitions and projects on everyday architecture, security technology and tourism as a motor of transnational mobility and teaches at numerous universities and colleges, i.a. in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Lucerne and Zurich. Since 2017 he holds a visiting professorship at the Institute for Cultural Analysis at the Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt. Photos from the event on photo service.

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