A video by Oliver Ressler
38 min., SD, AT 2002
The video “This is what democracy looks like!” thematizes the events of 1 July 2001 which took place surrounding a demonstration against the World Economic Forum – a private lobbying organization of major capital – which was meeting in Salzburg at the time.
“At those meetings, in the absence of the public, billion-dollar deals are set into motion by the self-appointed ‘global leaders.’ These deals bring wealth and prosperity to a few, and exploitation and poverty to many. To assure the orderly proceedings of economic globalization, the conference facilities, located in the center of Salzburg, are largely blocked off and all demonstrations are forbidden other than a rally at the square in front of the train station.” (Excerpt from the introduction of the video)
This video gives insight into the course of events of the first “anti-globalization demonstration” in Austria, held subsequent to the demonstrations in Seattle, Prague, Davos, Quebec, and Gothenburg, which all received a great deal of media attention. In this demonstration in Salzburg, which was forbidden by the police, 919 demonstrators were encircled in a police blockade and detained for over seven hours.
In the video “This is what democracy looks like!” anti-capitalist demonstrators take the role of active spokespersons, contrary to dominant media representations that denigrate them as either naive or violent chaotic rowdies. Conversations about the events in Salzburg were carried out with six demonstrators. The central themes developed in the video are; the limitation of basic democratic rights – which is shown mainly in the ban on demonstrating and the detainment of hundreds of people in police encirclement – and the tension between the limited physical force of a few demonstrators and the structural and physical violence practiced by state power. Excerpts from the conversations are put together with my own video recordings and those from (video) activists in Salzburg. The camera angle corresponds with the perspective of the demonstrators, thereby placing video viewers in direct confrontation with the events.
Concept, interviews, camera, film editing, production: Oliver Ressler
Interviews with: Walter Baier, Tanja Jenni, Ingrid Popper, Michael Pröbsting, Daniel Sanin, Irene Zavarsky
Video material from Indymedia Austria, Filmliga Linz, offscreen – offenes film forum salzburg, UTV Vienna, Oliver Ressler
The video received the first prize of the International\Media\Art\Award of the ZKM, 2002 and was aired on public television SWR, ARTE, SF DRS, TV Slovenija.