Sissi Quartier

"In Eastern Europe, memory politics is a matter of competing nationalisms, but as we experienced in Vienna, the frontiers and contrasts tend to be hidden behind an aesthetically-designed surface. At some points in our lives, as is common among people in Central and Eastern Europe, we have somehow equated Vienna and Austria in general with democracy and the West. It took us a difficult process of reflecting and learning to realize that the ‘enlightened West’ as we imagined it is a castle in the air. We are indeed one region – with similar inequalities, cultural differences and social problems – fences and exclusion practices. It is an area where the West-East dichotomy is going to be perpetuated through very subtle references and gestures, and that is precisely where large finances are at stake."

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