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Verein Shedhalle

Rote Fabrik
Seestrasse 395
CH-8038 Zürich

Tel + 41 44 4815950
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Collective Battles for Care Work


April 11, 2014 – September 7, 2014

Opening: April 10, 2014, 7 p.m.

“They say it is love, we say it is unwaged work.
They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism.”

Thus begins a text by Silvia Federici (Wages Against Housework, Power of Women Collective and Falling Wall Press, 1975) which was part of a larger campaign demanding “wages for housework.”

The goal of the campaign was to expose the supposed “self-evidence” of work carried out at home or in private (raising children, washing clothes, emotional devotion, cleaning, cooking, and sex) and to first even recognize it as work. The demand for pay did not aim at establishing and institutionalizing the situation of the housewife, but rather, ultimately sought a general refusal of housework, a questioning of the gender-based division of labor, and an overthrowing of society. The realization that gender is something constructed, quasi “acquired,” as well as the expansion of what is understood as housework, from the kitchen to the bedroom, points to queer politics.

How – and with whom – do we want to live? How do we take care of ourselves and others? How do we want to be cared for? Who performs this care work, and who can afford to “outsource” care? The exhibition takes up these questions and refers to what Silvia Federici called the “incomplete feminist revolution” in 2012. The nuclear family remains a preferred model despite the establishment of new concepts for living. At the same time, care services are organized increasingly within the private market and carried out especially by immigrant labor, in most cases by women, often without working papers. The exhibition shows artistic works from 1969 until the present that take up different aspects of care work and offer insight into the crisis of social reproduction. It also opens a space for discussion around collective practices of care, as well as reflection on current (local) strategies of self-organization.

Exhibition participants: Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, caring labor: an archive, Julia Glaus, Keine Hausarbeiterin Ist Illegal, Margareta Kern, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Radical Practices of Collective Care (Julia Wieger & Manuela Zechner)

Curated by Katharina Morawek, co-curated by Manuela Zechner