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Tetescha Us

Stefanie Wuschitz – 2006, 9 min, BetaSP, Austria

The animated film Tetscha Us proceeds from a double aporia: the fact that neutral representations of the Middle East conflict raise unrealistic expectations and the impossibility of presenting them as intact narratives. The starting point is a comic workshop which filmmaker Stefanie Wuschitz organized in the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. Palestinian girls aged 11 to 13 draw their visions of a different reality in which fish and butterflies, mermen and mermaids can marry. The drawings reflect their experiences with social exclusion resulting from the strict ethnic and religious fragmentation in Lebanon. Wuschitz avoids stereotypical representations of refugees and camps by drawing a few lines on a white background to portray the protagonists and settings of her video footage, adding audio recordings and text inserts afterward. The resulting degree of abstraction excludes patterns of reception and playfully establishes new webs of symbolic meaning. For a few seconds tall buildings shoot from fine black lines in post-war Beirut, and party scenes are formed immediately thereafter. Political opponents fight their battles on television screens. Fleeting tableaus, sounds and isolated statements build in intensity and overlap. The voices of refugees from Beddawi fade away in this new Lebanon at an invisible sound barrier. Four hundred thousand have waited to return since Israel was founded in 1948.

An NGO employee says that girls are again being married off at extremely young ages these days. Do Neo-patriarchal orders reflect fading hopes? At the film’s conclusion Wuschitz doesn’t let the images crumble; instead people rise above themselves. They climb onto buildings and cliffs and, similar to a fragment of dialogue – “Marry or Jump?” – they already have decided.

Stefanie Wuschitz was born in Vienna in 1981. Wuschitz has studied at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna (Department for Transmedial Art), the University Saint Joseph de Beirouth and University for Fine Arts, Damascus, and the University of Vienna (psychology).

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