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What Is Democracy?  


2009, single channel video (118 min), run off DVD, alson available online

"What is democracy?" is in fact a double question.  On the one hand, the question relates to the current condition of the parliamentary representative democracies that are critically scrutinized by this project.  On the other hand, the question traces different approaches to what a more democratic system might look like and which organizational forms it may require. 

The project addressed numerous activists and political analysts in 18 cities around the world - Amsterdam, Berkeley, Berlin, Bern, Budapest, Copenhagen, London, Melbourne, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rostock, San Francisco, Sydney, Taipai, Tel Aviv, Thessaloniki and Warsaw - one question: "What is democracy?"

The video interviews have been recorded since January 2007.

Even though all subjects were asked the same questions, the result was a multiplicity of different perspectives and viewpoints of people living in states that are usually labelled as “democracies”.  This pool of interviews builds the starting point for eight videos, which are presented in an 8-channel video installation.  The installation (re)presents a kind of global analysis of the deep political crises of the Western democratic model. ">Detailed description at    

Oliver Ressler is an artist who lives and works in Vienna, and carries out projects on various socio-political themes.


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