On September 30th, Alex Forbes, a Ph.D. Candidate in Film & Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen, presented a talk entitled “Euro-Visions: Post-89 Cinema and the (In)visibility of the Migrant.”
Alex began his talk by linking contemporary anxieties associated with the concept or formation of Europe, stretching from the fractious reception of migrants to the EU response to Greek debt, to an earlier moment of crisis, that of the dissolution of the Eastern bloc as it was critically reflected by a canon of filmmakers, including Wim Wenders, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Theo Angelopoulos and Michael Haneke. Focusing on Haneke’s 1994 feature, 71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance, Alex discussed the visibility and invisibility of the migrant through one of that film’s central characters, a Romanian refugee drifting through Vienna. Relating the circulation of this character as both body and media image, Alex connected Haneke’s film to then contemporary philosophical reckonings with the European offered by Giorgio Agamben and Etienne Balibar. Following the talk and a spirited discussion afterwards, Paul Flaig, Lecturer in Film & Visual Culture, sat down with Alex to discuss this paper and its place within his larger doctoral project on philosophical and filmic formations of the European in the wake of 1989 and its various economic, political and aesthetic aftermaths.