Locked Up and Locked Out. Prison, exploitation, and the pandemic

25/1 2022 7:30 pm

Anne Faucheret and Ana Hoffner ex-Prvulovic* in conversation with Monika Mokre

Registration: besucherservice@kunsthallewien.at or directly at the box office.

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Prisons are officially dedicated to preparing inmates for their return into society. But what happens on the inside?

Humans are locked up and excluded from society—an exclusion that has only become more radical in the age of Covid-19. They lose their work, their home, their relationships; during the lockdowns, they were not even allowed to have visitors on the other side of a glass pane.

And they are exploited. Prison labor in Austria, far from being outlawed, is actively advertised by the Ministry of Justice and comes with financial advantages for employers. Many everyday articles are manufactured by inmates who are paid low wages and barred from unionizing.

How can we bring about a social change that will end our toleration of the exclusionary and exploitative prison system? Taking inspiration from the installation Active Intolerance, Monika Mokre of the Solidarity Group for a Prisoners’ Union in Austria and Ana Hoffner ex-Prvulovic* discuss past and present-day forms of activism, calls for the abolition of prisons, and the pandemic’s particular impact on inmates.

Monika Mokre is a political activist as well as a senior researcher at the Institute for Cultural Studies and History of Theater at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and holds a PhD in political science. She is a founding member of the Solidarity Group for a Prisoners’ Union Austria. Her political and academic work centers around the topics asylum, migration, and prison.