The Workhouse: Breitenau Room / Das Arbeitshaus: Raums Breitenau (with Ines Schaber)

Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig (2014). (In English and German)

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The Workhouse was a series of projects organised with Ines Schaber, culminating in the exhibition of The Workhouse: Breitenau Room at dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel in 2012. Installed in the Handwerkskammer’s modernist building in Kassel, The Workhouse Breitenau Room engaged with the history of Breitenau, the former monastery, workhouse, prison, concentration camp, and girl’s reformatory, creating a space in which the ideas that were subject to correction were offered a temporary but more hospitable place to dwell uncorrected. The exhibition consisted of photographs, curtain, text, audio files, and benches. The benches currently reside in the Permanent Exhibition at the Gedenkstätte Breitenau in Guxhaen. In addition to the exhibition, there were poetry readings, walks, a roundtable and a publication.

Notes for the Breitenau Room of The Workhouse—A Project by Ines Schaber and Avery Gordon. No. 041 in the series 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts. Kassel: dOCUMENTA (13) and Hatje Cantz Verlag (2011). Reprinted in Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Chús Martinez, Franco Beradi, eds. The Book of Books.Kassel: dOCUMENTA (13) and Hatje Cantz Verlag (2012).(In English and German)

Excerpts from The Workhouse Breitenau Room were included in the exhibition, “When the Present is History,” curated by Daphne Vitali, first at Depo in Istanbul TR as part of the parallel program of the 16th Istanbul Biennale (9.12.2019 – 10.11.2019) and then at MOMus – Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections, Thessaloniki GR as part of the parallel program of the 23rd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (21.5.21 – 19.9.2021). In Thessaloniki, the four sound files were installed and their texts reprinted as individual booklets in Greek and English.

The Workhouse: Room 3 or The Dreamhouse

A workshop led by Avery Gordon and Ines Schaber and organized by Pip Day and The Institute for Spatial Practices in Revolution, the second series of public events in the ongoing research project “Not I: The Performative Speech Act and the Sovereign Subject.” Held at Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) Mexico City, Mexico 30 September – 2 October 2011.

The centerpiece of the workshop was a group participatory exercise in which participants were asked to answer in common the question--what is your dream workhouse?—and to create a model of it in words or images or drawings or sounds. Readings, discussion, presentation of models and a public screening of La Commune 1871 (2000), dir. Peter Wakins, 375 minutes with accompanying map by Karl Marx and barricade food.