What to do after work? Reading Group: Sabotage

Reading Group
24/1 2023 5 pm — 7 pm

What to do after work? is a public intervention in the framework of the exhibition In the meantime, midday comes around and an open invitation to participate, speculate, or simply to listen in.

Please register via vermittlung@kunsthallewien.at.

Free admission.

No preparation or prior reading is necessary!

The reading materials are available in English and German.

The event will be held in English and German, with mutual translation assistance.

This evening is intended as a “journey into the gray areas of everyday work” (Lexikon der Sabotage), where time is wasted, work is faked, or customers and superiors are tricked. What makes us stop playing by the rules, and what strategies of sabotage do artists propose?

Sabotage as a form of strike, sabotage as protest, even as a “war against labor” (La Révolution Surréaliste, 1925) to blow up unfair conditions? At the same time, we also want to take a look at how the question of strike and refusal of work is developing in the face of ecological demands and the increasing importance of social and care professions.

Together with the art historian Abigail Susik, who has researched the surrealists’ wage-labor “abolitionism,” and the author Peter A. Krobath, who has written Lexikon der Sabotage (a lexicon of sabotage) based on interviews with workers, we will address this complex of topics in an evening of readings on surrealist anti-labor manifestos, renitent lexicon entries, and pointed rejections of questionable job offers.

Peter A. Krobath is a freelance author and activist (Stadtfrucht Wien, Bettellobby Wien). His main topics are the world of work, refusal (Lexikon der Sabotage, 2009), appropriation and commons (Was allen gehört, 2013). In 1998 he received the Max von der Grün Prize for his Arbeitswelt literature. Since 2006, actions with Kuserutzky Klan, including Wellness für Loser, Colonia Catering, Pimp my Einkaufswagerl, Recht auf Marmelade, Die Wien-Wächst-Show, and the Wiener Absageservice – job seekers were encouraged to send a rejection letter instead of an application in response to questionable job postings.

In her wide-ranging research devoted to modern and contemporary art history and visual/material culture, Abigail Susik focuses on the intersection of international surrealism with anti-authoritarian protest cultures. She is the author of Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work (Manchester University Press, 2021) and co-editor of the volumes Surrealism and Film after 1945: Absolutely Modern Mysteries (Manchester University Press, 2021) and Radical Dreams: Surrealism, Counterculture, Resistance (Penn State University Press, 2022). Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, and she has contributed many essays to publications on the history of the avant-garde, including Surrealism Beyond Borders (Metropolitan Museum of Art; Tate Modern, 2021). She is currently a Stadt Wien/IFK_Fellow at International Research Center for Cultural Studies, University of Art and Design Linz.