Waschkaue: Dividing Line 2018
installation and performance
(3 channel video, carbon prints, ceramic objects, text on textile)
in collaboration with Karolina Majewska-Guede
History of technology is not just a story of imagination and wise investment. The history of technology implies a hidden history of the bodily effort of women.
The “Waschkaue: dividing line” starts with the history of one of the buildings in the most industrialized region of Germany. Schacht 1/2/ 8 belonging to the Zeche Zollverein in Essen in the Ruhr. Currently here is the choreography center of North Rhine Westphalia. At the time when the mine was operating, this building housed the so-called Waschkaue, where miners changed their clothes and washed their bodies after work. Today it is a place dedicated to
performance. In fact it has always been. It used to be a backstage for the mine, where workers changed costumes, took off their usual clothes and put on uniforms. The uniforms were all dirty. Who cleaned these clothes, who dealt withall that dirt? In the mine the men’s bodies powered machines, in the house the women’s bodies performed invisible labors.
During the presentation of the project at Mz Baltazar’s Lab in Vienna the artists played out a repetition of the performance “Pranie” by Maria Pinińska-Bereś from 1980, in which the word “Feminism” was embroidered on fabrics which were washed during the performance. In the repetition, the word “Maintenance” was used instead of the word “Feminism”; its meaning refers to both homework, to the operation of technology, and to the preservation of the archive.
photographs : Sophie Thun