Kanak TV: Philharmonie Köln
Cologne, 6.11. 2001. On this day, with a fittingly large number of VIPs present, the city of Cologne celebrated the 40th anniversary of the signing of the first recruitment agreement with Turkey. In order to point out the reduced and reductive use of the cultural concepts often reserved for migrants, we posed questions to Germans that are normally only asked of migrants. Our aim was not only to show that Germans’ apparently have a natural monopoly on a generalizing attitude toward “the Others,” but also to take it to the point of absurdity. The interesting thing is that most Germans used precisely the same arguments as those voiced by many migrants for years to defend themselves against externally imposed identities and stereotyping.
Kanak TV goes into action wherever racist hierarchies are declared the norm. We categorically reject every attempt to gape at migrants, sum them up, and force them into categories. Instead, we put the focus on Teutons who consider it a matter of course to examine and interrogate others, and diminish them in their gaze. Kanak TV keeps an alert watch on everyday events. It goes against conventional attitudes and familiar patterns of reception. Kanak TV spreads unease among the self-righteous. On Kanak TV, there is neither relief through laughter nor
sympathetic solidarity. Despite all this, Kanak TV does make people laugh. And the more German and complacent the audience is, the
more the laughter sticks in its throat. We, the “wogs,” produce long overdue pictures to offset the eternally stereotypical pictures of
migrants. We offer a counter valance to the images of criminal wogs from the ghetto, the sweaty wogs selling donner kebabs, or the mute
female wogs wearing headscarves – all symbols of our backwardness and repression. Kanak TV reverses the racist gaze. But we do not solely
want to reveal the racist gaze and the fixed pictures in people’s minds. We also focus on how pictures are produced, manipulated and used. By employing the power of the gaze itself, Kanak TV exposes the power of the media’s gaze. Our aim is, thus to question, reject and counteract the balance of power.
Kanak TV (D), 2002, 9 min.