As part of the installation A Gestural History of the Young Worker, on view at the Gropius Bau from 18 November to 17 December, Werker Collective is organizing a study group to examine the impact of post-industrial forms of production and the consequences for the queer worker's body. Against Work: A Gestural History of the Young Worker is an open conversation in exchange with curator Zippora Elders, sharing insights, notes and experiences gathered by the group. The event is designed as a collective exercise to find strategies to abolish work as we know it.
"Workers are queer. This is both a critical and forward-looking proposal. Throughout history, workers and queers have been pitted against each other. Right-wing regimes and politicians around the world appeal to workers as a beacon of stability and tradition, while portraying queers as a threat to traditional values. This juxtaposition of workers' interests with those of LGBTQIA+ and feminist movements is also present in the international left. Werker Collective, simultaneously inspired by the emancipatory politics of the labor movement and the body liberatory politics of radical queers and feminists, offers another version of Smytschka*, namely a utopian synthesis of labor and desire."
*In the early political vocabulary of the Soviet Union, the word smychka referred to the striving for cooperation and unification in society.
Excerpt from: Smychka of Work and Desire. A Gestural History of the Young Worker. Georgy Mamedov and Werker Collective, 2019.
The installation A Gestural History of the Young Worker, which can be seen as part of the event and discourse program for the exhibition General Idea from 18 November to 17 December 2023 at the Gropius Bau, was first conceived for the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Yekaterinburg 2019. The work has been subject to increasingly drastic censorship in Russia over the past four years.
Werker Collective operates at the intersection of the labor movement, ecofeminism and the LGBTQIA+ movement and advocates a critique of everyday pop cultural representations. This reveals what is made visible in various political contexts and what remains hidden or is excluded. Founded in Amsterdam in 2009 by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos, the collective has published ten issues of Werker Magazine. Since then, Werker has explored a variety of media, including installation, performance, video, sound, textiles and digital publications. The collective has also developed collaborative projects, reading groups, film clubs, radio podcasts and publishing workshops.