365 Days of Work Bilderkritik & book launch
With the opening of Army of Love and The Library of Unread Books behind us — warm thanks to all those who came; enjoy some images of the event here — we’ve organized a two-part event to celebrate the publication of 365 Days of Invisible Work. The afternoon begins with an intimate image study in the format of Bilderkritik at 14:00, followed by the book launch at 17:00 with the Netherlands-based Domestic Worker Photographer Network.
Domestic labor is an historically feminized domain that remains undervalued within capitalist society today, and is thereby not properly waged or validated. We’ve internalized this condition, which has led to the normalization of the feeling that the home sphere is a kind of extended work site. This is the case for house workers and freelancers alike. As scholar Marina Vishmidt puts it in the book, in this private sphere “there’s nobody to monitor how fiercely or laxly you’ve internalized capitalist discipline — or, rather competition, with now invisible and always lower-waged others.” To address this complexity Werker Collective initiated an international online community in 2011, the Domestic Worker Photographers Network, to encourage and collect representative images of invisible domestic work. These images have recently been published as the calendar 365 Days of Invisible Work. Conceived during the Grand Domestic Revolution, 365 Days of Invisible Work is the third edition of the Werker Magazine series initiated by artists Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos. The book includes a conversation between Marina Vishmidt and artist Lisa Jeschke entitled “Work Breaks Us We Break Work” and is co-published by Casco, Spector Books, and Werker Collective.
The term Bilderkritik (image critique) was originally used by the German worker photography journal Der Arbeiter-Fotograf in the nineteen-twenties to name the images submitted by amateurs to the journal editors that were then analyzed technically, formally, and ideologically. Meanwhile, the Worker Photography Movement assembled the first associations of amateur photographers to use the camera politically: as a proletariat tool of self-representation in contra to capitalist domination of media images of the time. The movement was started after the 1917 Russian Revolution by industrial workers who had access to cameras. It then spread throughout Europe and North America and was particularly popular with unemployed workers, socialists, and photography lovers.
Werker continues the practice of Bilderkritik, and in the forthcoming study session at Casco we will analyze image submissions that relate to the street or public sphere in order to garner patterns and in turn question how we relate to this material. We would also like to use this opportunity to discuss how we might further organize together around the subject of domestic labor. The event is free but has limited capacity. If you would like to join, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief motivation.
At 17:00, we will open the doors to the public and commence the book launch with a series of toasts by the Netherlands-based online community Domestic Worker Photographer Network, to share individual stories around what prompted their online contributions. If you contributed to the book, this will also be a moment for you to pick up your complimentary copy. Please let us know if you plan to do so by contacting email@example.com. And for the rest of the Domestic Worker photographers, there will also be opportunities to pick up a copy at upcoming launches at Tenderbooks in London; Konstfrämjandet in Stockholm and MACBA in Barcelona. More details and locations to follow.
This afternoon event will take place during Casco’s new exhibition-projects: The Library of Unread Books by Heman Chong and Renée Staal and Army of Love with Dora García and Ingo Niermann, which we also encourage you to come and experience. Notably, these projects mark the end of our transition period from Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory to Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons. It’s an exciting time and we hope you will join us!