In October 2009 the American ex-Klu-Klux-Klan ‘Grand Wizard’ David Duke entered into notoriety in the UK after he was filmed at a meeting of White Nationalists at which BNP (British National Party) chairman Nick Griffin spoke of his intentions to re-package and sell his party’s racist ideology to Britain using key topics of freedom, security and democracy. Despite being highly active in international neo-Nazi networks and expelled from several other European countries for crimes such as holocaust denial, the right-wing extremist was enjoying a political safe haven in Austria, using his idyllic home in alpine town Zell am See as a base from which to promote the far-right movement across Europe.
Coincidentally, in 2005, around the same time that Duke was first known to be in Austria, an ‘initial reception centre’ was established in the sleepy Upper Austrian hamlet of St Georgen im Attergau, a refugee camp to which all asylum seekers must first report whilst the Austrian government, which is criticised by Amnesty International for its dehumanising and stigmatising attitude to migrants, settles their fate. Fortress Europe is a two screen video installation depicting footage shot over the course of one day, in and around the two Austrian towns of Zell am See and St Georgen im Attergau.
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