Tuesday, March 10, 2015

About the Radical Collective Care Practices Project – an interview-text

by B. Rübner-Hansen, J. Wieger and M. Zechner, questions by E. Krasny[1]

Beginnings /// Upon meeting in Vienna in 2012, at a workshop Manuela ran at VBKÖ (a historical association of women artists that aims to foster contemporary feminist artistic agendas, in Vienna), we found that we shared an interest in questions of care, social reproduction/reproductive labor and collective forms of organizing, food production and housing. We come from different fields and directions: Julia is interested in feminist approaches to architecture and was then starting research on the spatial relations of reproductive labor; Manuela had done extensive militant research on care networks via workshops and her PhD, in Spain and the UK notably; and Bue was working theoretically on the question of social reproduction under capitalism, keeping an eye on the emergent forms of self-organisation during the crisis in Europe. We decided to start a collective research process and a corresponding online platform structured around case studies.
Social and economic crisis /// The idea to start the project came up against the background of a social crisis convulsing Europe – at a time when the impact of the 2008 financial crisis could be felt ever more strongly in the so-called PIIGS countries and when austerity politics started to take effect, further dismantling the social institutions once provided by the (welfare)states throughout Europe. This situation was new in Europe, both in the experiences and dilemmas it posed and the collective and organisational responses it triggered. Autonomous self-reproduction has become a matter of necessity and survival for many people (as opposed to being a life-style choice).