2009 : 2008 : 2007 : 2006 : 2005 : 2004 : 2003 : 2002 : 2001 : 2000 : 1999 : 1998 : 1997 : 1996 : 1995 : 1994

concept : film : skype meetings : radio lora : magazines : open desktop : archives : symposium


Sketching an Idea

With a symposium on 6/7 June 2008, the Shedhalle brings to end the series Work to do! Self-organisation in precarious working conditions. The staging of the symposium is thus linked to the finissage of the Skype Meetings exhibition and the new edition of the Shedhalle Newspaper. The questions posed in the course of the project, in particular those raised within Skype Meetings, and the answers generated will be addressed and put up for further discussion during the symposium: which forms of communications media best support projects which seek to pursue an alternative, “wiser economic mode” (WIR FRAUEN, no. 3/2007). If the Skype Meetings resonate with a ‘new’ feminism, then how will “feminism today” be organised (Graswurzelrevolution, March 2008)? Is, for example, the medium of film a promising (because artistic) strategy to “am Staatsapparat bleiben” (keep tabs on the state apparatus), without however falling into line with the “dominant culture and ideology” (Frederikke Hansen), or is community radio a medium that, instead of reproducing the division of labour between makers and listeners, tries out new communication forms (Nicole Niedermüller)?

Together with guests from a variety of working fields we would like to continue the dialogue initiated between the different media gathered in the Skype Meetings exhibition. Contrary to the conventional form of a symposium, which divides participants into speakers and audience, we cherish the wish not to limit reciprocal exchange to a concluding discussion round. Rather, the conversations are to ‘weave’ their way through the individual programme points. Following the motto of the Open Desktop usable in the exhibition: Share knowledge instead of subordination to a hierarchical decision-making structure (CCC – Critical Curatorial Cybermedia – Study Program).

Against the background of the Skype Meetings exhibition, which focuses on aspects of communication, in the form of the symposium a further communication medium – and if possible also a distribution medium – is brought into play. Comparable to the Skype conversations, the symposium is a format where people come together who would or could not otherwise simply meet. For the former, the internet bridges the spatial distance and creates a virtual proximity. As far as the latter is concerned, it is the organisers of the event who enable a physical gathering. What are the merits of the respective communication media and where do moments of failure become noticeable? Recurring difficulties, such as faults in transmission, image or sound quality, prove that the Skype format is a technology that at times still requires fine tuning. In contrast, time pressures and high travel costs restrict the selection of symposium participants.

As the symposium is taking place in the space used for Skype Meetings, we would like to take the opportunity to concretely include the exhibition context. For this reason the symposium will begin on Friday with a tour of the Skype Meetings exhibition. This shall enable in particular those participants who will be seeing the exhibition for the first time to refer spontaneously to Skype Meetings in their contributions and comments. This tour shall also provide an opportunity to draw a kind of résumé: how did visitors experience and use the exhibition, and what were their comments (in the media)? Has the exhibition format, unusual in many respects, proved effective? For example the architecture, which more resembles an internet café than an exhibition space and in part could indeed be used (for research) in the same way? Or what about the time dimension of the exhibition, which demanded from the visitors a great deal of stamina given the host of Skype conversations and films, some of which lasted up to an hour.

The following evening programme will concentrate on one of the media featured in the exhibition. With working on it, Frederikke Hansen will present an example of the film programme she compiled for Skype Meetings. She will be joined by one of the filmmakers Sabina Baumann, and together they will contextualise the example and put it forward for discussion.

On Saturday several contributions and presentations will follow from theoretical contexts and specific practical working fields. This does not mean however a separation between theory and practice, but rather a combination of diverse perspectives: the aim is to mark out, in a positive sense, an abstract framework – for the question of an effective perception of self-organised networks can be viewed neither in isolation from the usual economies of media circulation, distribution and translation, nor from the hegemonic gender relations and their accompanying division of labour. But ultimately the main concern is to gain insight into concretely implemented examples, in particular of feminist self-organisation. As far as the invited speakers and actors are concerned, some have yet to be directly involved in the Shedhalle project and therefore represent a more distant outsider perspective, whereas others have already contributed in some way to the various modules of Skype Meetings, either as dialogue partners within the Skype conversations or as editors of one of the exhibited magazines. This will give the audience an opportunity to catch sight of the makers and the specific production processes behind the printed magazines. Or present them with the opportunity to directly ask questions which arise from listening/viewing a Skype conversation.

Finally, the Shedhalle Newspaper will present a few further points for discussion which the participants can take home with them at the end of symposium. Comparable to the tear-off notepad laid out in the Skype Meetings, whose pages contain all the important information on the exhibition, the Shedhalle Newspaper is also to be viewed and used as a ‘data source’ for further research. In the spirit of the whole Work to do! project series, the symposium is conceived as a look back and a look forward: what has been done? What still needs to be done? This issue features reflections on the series as a whole and the Skype Meetings in particular – and so sets a platform to debate and negotiate the future empanicpatory potentials of self-organised forms of work.



Friday, 6 June
6 p.m.
Introduction/tour of the exhibition Skype Meetings
Film screening working on it with Frederikke Hansen, together with the filmmaker Sabina Baumann


Working on It
In May 2004 people from film, art and social work met in the Shedhalle to discuss what a queer film project could/should look like. Four years later, in Zurich, the resulting film WORKING ON IT premieres at the gay and lesbian film festival and it becomes clear that the filmmakers Karin Michalski and Sabina Baumann have succeeded in not simply making a queer film, but also in queering film making. 15 protagonists meet in WORKING ON IT in a supermarked-turned-testbed and hangout for Berlins queer community. Through performance and discussion, they search for new forms of expression of fluid and anti-hierarchical identities.
Co-initiator Frederikke Hansen and filmmaker Sabina Baumann show the film, tell anecdotes from ‘behind the scenes’ and discuss aspects of queer cultural production with the audience.

Sabina Baumann (1962, lives and works in Zurich), artist and teacher.

Frederikke Hansen (1969, lives and works in Berlin and Copenhagen), curator and co-founder of the curatorial collective Kuratorisk Aktion. Former curator at the Shedhalle.

Saturday 7 June
1 p.m.

Speaches and inputs by:
- Catherine Hoskyns: Linking Gender and Trade Policy – Obstacles to and Opportunities for Civil Society Action
- an.schläge – Das Feministische Magazin, Lea Susemichel and Saskya Rudigier
- Birge Krondorfer, Frauenhetz – feministische Bildung, Kultur und Politik
- CCC: 24/7: Open Desktop. A participative workspace
- Rubia Salgado, maiz – Autonomes Zentrum von und für Migrantinnen and WIP – work in process

4.30 p.m.: discussions

Catherine Hoskyns
Linking Gender and Trade Policy –
Obstacles to and Opportunities for Civil Society Action

The issue of gender and trade has moved up the political agenda as a result of a number of factors, in particular the politicisation of trade policy, the links between trade and development and the expansion of trade to services. The commitment of some governments and international institutions to gender mainstreaming in all areas of policy, gives an opening for pressure and campaigning on gender issues. Gender and trade thus provides a useful case study for assessing the role of civil society organisations in influencing macroeconomic policy. Despite this, the disconnect between approaches springing from gender analysis on the one hand and from trade theory on the other is considerable and incomprehension remains on both sides of the divide. The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for this disconnect, and consider what measures are currently being taken which may begin to bridge the gaps. In this context it looks specifically at how issues to do with gender have been handled during the negotiations around Economic Partnership Agreements, currently taking place between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. It also examines new notions about ‘fair’ as opposed to ‘free’ trade and the significance of the Fairtrade movement for women’s empowerment. This material suggests that gender and trade are only likely to be integrated if assumptions shift and dialogue takes place as part of a broader campaign to make development more central to trade policy. Civil society organisations have a key role to play in making this transition.

Catherine Hoskyns is Professor Emerita in European Studies and Gender Politics at Coventry University, UK. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR) in the University of Warwick. She is the author of Integrating Gender – Women, Law and Politics in the European Union (Verso, 1996) and is currently researching various aspects of gender and macroeconomics. Her most recent publication (with Professor Shirin M. Rai) is ‘Recasting the Global Political Economy: Counting Women’s Unpaid Work’ New Political Economy 12/3, September 2007.


Processes of precarity are not a new phenomenon in the living and working circumstances of women. The ambivalence between self-determination and self-exploitation has been patently obvious for some time in feminist contexts as well. Accordingly, the engagement with diverse manifestations of precarity and the search for counterstrategies in feminism definitely have tradition. But so too does the insight that there are grave differences between various experiences of precarity – for instance between migrant household workers and freelancers working in culture.
Feminist media are not only an experimental field for an alternative, self-organised and egalitarian culture of communication, but also a field in which solidarity and self-empowerment can be put to the test within precarious structures.

Lea Susemichel, b. 1976, studied philosophy and gender studies in Vienna, lectures at the Kunstschule Vienna and began contributing to an.schläge in 2002. Since 2005 she is a contributing editor to an.schläge tv, the feminist magazine on OKTO.

Saskya Rudigier, b. 1976 in Bludenz, studied theatre, film and media in Vienna and Berlin. She joined an.schläge in 2005 and has been involved ever since in the production of an.schläge tv, the feminist television magazine on OKTO.


The contribution devoted to the women’s education centre Frauenhetz – Feministische Bildung, Kutlur und Politik (Vienna) wishes to put two questions up for discussion: is work on an honorary basis precarious, and therefore bound to the logic of scarcity, or is there a positive concept of overexertion that allows ‘working oneself into the ground’ to be considered a form of political action? And: how are non-hierarchical forms of communicating knowledge and action related to gaining recognition?

Birge Krondorfer
University lecturer, author on feminist theory and practice, active in adult education, group trainer, supervisor, co-founder and active in Frauenhetz since 1991. Most recent publication on the theme of ‘Women and Politics. Reports from democracies’.


maiz - Autonomes Zentrum von und für Migrantinnen in Oberösterreich
Starting from the necessity of changing the living and working situation of migrants in Austria, which means strengthening their political and cultural participation, since 1994 maiz works in a wide array of areas based on the principle of self-organisation: networking, public relations and cultural work, counselling and guidance for migrants, health services and street work for migrant women active in the sex industry, educational work, youth work, research.

Rubia Salgado
A resident in Austria since 1987, having studied Portuguese and literature in Rio de Janeiro/Brazil. Many years of experience in working with migrants in the areas of education and culture. Co-founder and contributor to maiz.

24/7: Open Desktop. A Participative Workspace.
Study Programme CCC (Critical Curatorial Cybermedia), Geneva University of Art and Design