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12 | DECEMBER - Culture
On the recapture of a contested term - Michael Meister, TV Culture
Home: the promise of an imaginary idyll, a marketing tool of tourism experts and magazine editors, a chauvinist fighting term against everything foreign and a non-word frowned upon by the left for decades. And today?
"I don't want to leave the term to the (extreme) right," says Vienna's former mayor Michael Häupl in Felix Breisach's cultural documentary "Mein Land, dein Land" (My Country, Your Country) and is thus in complete agreement with former provincial governor Erwin Pröll. To de-ideologise the term, to free it from artificiality and kitsch, is a concern of ORF culture. A new documentary series, which will be broadcast from summer 2022, attempts to survey the history of the country's mentality, to take stock of how the inhabitants of the provinces perceive themselves in the overall Austrian context. Title: "Weites Land". Subtitles: "Heimat Vorarlberg", "Heimat Kärnten", "Heimat Burgenland", etc. We understand the use of the term "Heimat" as a deliberate announcement: we do not want to show postcard landscapes with their autochthonous, rustically dressed population practising old crafts. Rather, the attempt is made to show how Austrian cultural identity is constituted in the first quarter of the 21st century. The first issue, which is currently being produced, makes a stop in Vorarlberg. There we get to know the immigrant, whose dialect seems to be more pronounced than that of the long-established. There we realise that not all clichés can be refuted. A young couple tells us that they have long since put into practice a motto that is so important in the Ländle: Schaffe, schaffe, Häusle baue. And a meat delicatessen producer says that for him, home is something highly emotional that gives him a pleasant feeling. So home is not just the landscape one grows up in, but also a sentiment, a memory, perhaps of childhood, perhaps of Punch and Judy. The latter is one of the "icons of Austria", as an ongoing documentary series by ORF-KULTUR is called. The material and immaterial heritage of the country is brought before the curtain, of which we are often so proud without having done anything for it. These include the fame and ruin of the House of Habsburg, the Kreisky telephone or the Gugelhupf mould. If we think of their content and effect, we can draw a balance: Homeland can also be melted on the tongue.
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