A WORKER BECOMES A WRITER: MASCH, AGITPROP, MARGARETE STEFFIN

A reading performance
Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić and Ina Wudtke.

Saturday 15. October 2016, 19h
at Rosa-Luxemburg-Saal, Karl-Liebknecht-Haus
Kleine Alexanderstr. 28, 10178 Berlin – Mitte
Free Entrance

Photo: Emma Haugh

As part of the program Undisciplinary Learning: Remapping the Aesthetics of Resistance CITY, which takes place at original sites from The Aesthetics of Resistance, the artists Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić and Ina Wudtke stage a reading of texts from the worker-writer Margarete Steffin at Karl-Liebknecht-Haus. In his novel, Peter Weiss describes workers schools in which young workers discover art and literature for the first time and become artists and writers themselves. Before 1933, Margarete Steffin was a part of worker’s choirs and agit-prop troupes and also wrote agitational lyrics and poems. Steffin met Bertolt Brecht in the Marxist workers school (MASCH), which was founded in Karl-Liebknecht-Haus. Margarete Steffin was Brecht’s closest collaborator in the years from 1933 until her death in 1941. In Brecht’s writing collective, she was responsible for "translating" his texts into "worker’s language." Brecht and Steffin wrote the most important texts of the German resistance against fascism from exile in Denmark.

Rena Rädle and Vladan Jeremić thematize social resistance and the potential of emancipatory politics through trans-disciplinary research and interventions with texts, parole, drawings, videos, and public actions. In her work as an artist and activist cultural producer (such as her work with the publishing collective that produced the feminist artist magazine NEID from 1992 until 2004), Ina Wudtke questions hegemonic discourses and attempts to strengthen counter-perspectives on subjects like identity, work, the city, and living.

On the evening of A worker becomes a writer: MASCH, Agitprop, Margarete Steffin, alongside Steffin’s work the artists Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremić and Ina Wudtke introduce their Arbeitsblätter zum lebenden Bild (Worksheets for Tableau Vivant), which they developed as their contribution to the exhibition Undisciplinary Learning. Remapping the Aesthetics of Resistance at District. The free 16-page newspaper engages with agit-prop techniques used by workers movements in the 20s and 30s in Germany, among which belong the nearly forgotten "Tableau Vivant". The recreation of historical scenes was originally part of the entertainment program of festive events for the aristocracy and bourgeoisie. In the Weimar Republic, communist agit-prop troupes radicalized the Tableau Vivant as a means of protest and direct action. The newspaper shows historical Tableau Vivants and additionally suggests scenarios for Tableau Vivant that respond to the current political situation.