Arbeiterwille: An (Im)possible Movement

Arbeiterwille: An (Im)possible Movement


Citypark, EG, Top 23 (Entry from parking garage A1)
Lazarettgürtel 55, 8020 Graz

Mo–Sa 10:00–18:00

Opening: 10.9., 17:00, Free admission

The social democratic newspaper Arbeiterwille, founded in Graz in 1890, promoted the emancipation of the working class through self-organization, resistance, and education over a period of forty-four years before being banned. Using this historical publication as a starting point, this artistic contribution focuses on the current possibilities for collective self-understanding in the midst of neoliberal and global technological and environmental changes.

Most recently, the fight against the pandemic accelerated the processes of flexibilization and automation of digital capitalism, which has not only led to apathy, alienation, and social isolation, but has also changed the conditions of collective bargaining. How can we identify an Arbeiterwille (worker’s will) as the basis for community building today? A discursive installation demonstrates what is hidden behind media representations of high-tech work and poses the question of new possibilities for collectivization and political action.

Participated artists: Lain Iwakura, Vladimir Miladinović und Coline Robin



Exhibition view, “Arbeiterwille: An (Im)possible Movement”, 2021 © Johanna Lamprecht
Exhibition view, “Arbeiterwille: An (Im)possible Movement”, 2021 © Johanna Lamprecht


Lain Iwakura (a.k.a. DeRayling, Ezili-i Sabbah, Bill B. Wintermute, DiVersion), Work of Tomorrow, 2021,
sound installation, 38’57”

The soundscape Work of Tomorrow takes up media representations from today’s hi-tech companies. The work is based on music from commercials for leading IT companies such as Infineon, AMS and Siemens in the areas of smart industry, smart homes, and electric mobility. The sound artist identified and selected their specific beats, rhythms and melodies and then combined them again to create this work.


Vladimir Miladinović, Arbeitskräfteüberlassungsgesetz, 2021,
Watercolour, 3 drawings, 56 x 38

This work comprises three watercolour drawings that reproduce a newspaper article and a contract signed in April that will come into force in October 2021. The series thus brings decisions about economic flexibility to public attention. This includes an expansion of the number of notice dates and the shortening of notice periods as two ways to make it easier and quicker to terminate employees. Classification as a “seasonal industry” continues to prevent workers’ rights from being brought into line with those of salaried employees. Another disadvantage is the reduction of the notice period, for example from six to two weeks.


Vladimir Miladinović, Gastarbeiter-Abkommen 1974, 2018,
Watercolour, 10 drawings, 56 x 38

This work is based on research carried out in the Vienna State Archives in 2018. The documents in the painting are a state agreement between Austria and Yugoslavia, which, starting in the 1970s, resulted in a significant wave of migration. The reproduction of the historical document gives an insight into the historical working conditions that made Austria’s economic growth possible.


Coline Robin, Cartography of the Invisible, 2021,
Wall drawing, 600 x 150

As part of the art-based research project Digital Reconfiguration: A Cartography of the Invisible, conversations, research and discussions were held over a period of two years, which Coline Robin illustrates in large format as a cartography of techno-political, social and economic systems in the Graz context. The results of the collective work were illustrated in abstract form on a fabric banner using a contemporary mind-mapping language.


In the context of Graz Kulturjahr 2020 and the project “Digital Reconfiguration: A cartography of the invisible”

Supported by steirischer herbst ’21, Arbeiterkammer Steiermark, Kulturvermittlung Steiermark, CITYPARK Graz, VÖGB/ÖGB Steiermark, KulturlotsInnen, Arbeitsmarkt Service Steiermark, Naturkundemuseum UMJ Graz, Ortweinschule Graz, Institut für Zeitgenössische Kunst / TU Graz, Projektraum „Annenstr. 53,“ and numerous workers’ organisations in Styria

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