Cruising the Archive

15/12 2022 5 pm — 8 pm

Workshop with Laura Nitsch as part of the exhibition In the meantime, midday comes around

All participants will receive a subsidy of € 90 for their participation in the workshop.

The workshop is fully booked.

The workshop will be held in English and/or German as needed.

Enabling the methodology of cruising, as a practice that is mobile and driven by desire, in this workshop we want to approach rare archival documents from 1910 to 1934 of working-class lesbian encounters in Vienna.

As a starting point, artist and filmmaker Lau­ra Nitsch gives insights into her latest short film, VIOLETT (2020–ongoing), and shares a selection of archival materials that informed this work. The film focuses on the court case of the Viennese workers Karoline Wieser and Ludmilla Horvath, who were arrested for “vagabondage”. Police used this term to discipline the poor and working classes and criminalize the behavior of walking and strolling in public spaces. Under police pressure, Wieser and Horvath confessed their romantic relationship and were incar­cerated. Inspired by African American studies scholar and writer Saidiya Hartman, VIOLETT “fabulates” what was not, as well as what could not be, said or shown but still might have happened. It tries to tell and perform a nonheroic, complex, queer, working-class love story while staying scattered and open.

Acknowledging that one’s socioeconomic situation affects not only the ways we act on our desires but also our means of docu­menting, archiving, and remembering our lives, there is a dearth of queer working-class history. In this workshop, we will try to acti­vate our collective resilient imagination—an imagination that can enable us to feel and tell Wieser and Horvath’s story beyond the archival documents. Together, we will fabu­late alongside the given facts, while reflect­ing on the narratives we collectively inhabit, share, and retell. We aim to engage with the archival material, while keeping things mobile, unfixed, and conflicting, telling the same story differently many times.

Laura Nitsch is a visual artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer based in Vienna and Berlin. Influenced by narratives on social class and queerness, she is interested in practices of storytelling, moving image production, and archiving, while employing counter-narratives and speculation in her documentary approach.

Her work is, among others, circulating in Mumok Vienna, Kunsthalle Bern, NGBK Berlin, Grey Noise Dubai, Kunstraum Niederösterreich, Blickle Kino Belvedere 21 Vienna, and the Internet. In 2020, she received the Theodor Körner Award.