A Careful Strike*

Mint and Michele Masucci
Erik Helgeson during meeting of Swedish Dockworkers Union (Svenska Hamnarbetarförbundet) 2018-2019; LO (Landsorganisationen) is the biggest Swedish trade union confederation, with close ties to the Social Democratic Party.
Benj Gerdes, Four Meetings, One Shift, 2020. Single-Channel Video, Stereo, 15 Minutes, excerpt from 5 hours film.


Installation shot: Salad Hilowle, Passion of Remembrance, 2020, Single-Channel Video, 31 Minutes; Ingela Johansson, Silver Tongue, The Great Miners’ Strike 1969-70, 2020, Three-Channel Video, 58 Minutes.


“We want to take part actively in every political event.” Minus Miele, Bad Frankenhausen, 2020, Single-Channel Video, 9.32 Minutes


Ruben Nilson, Arbetarrörelsens historia / The History of the Workers Movement, Mural, c. 1940


Black Audio Film Collective, John Akomfrah, Handsworth Songs, 1986. © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

Handsworth Songs (Black Audio Film Collective, John Akomfrah, 1986):


Bodies of Care. Emma Dominguez, Macarena Dusant, Sonia Sagan, and Sarasvati Shrestha in conversation on exhibition Mami: Ama: Mothers at Botkyrka Konsthall:


Ports and Logistics Struggles. Conversation organized with magazine Arbetaren between Martin Berg (chairman Swedish Dockworkers Union), Papis Ndiaye (S.I. Cobas Italy), Alessandra Mincone (journalist at Napoli Monitor), Mathias Wåg (activist and writer), moderated by Julia Lindblom (journalist at Arbetaren) and Benj Gerdes (artist and filmmaker):


Artists: Bini Adamczak, Diana Agunbiade-Kolawole, Black Audio Film Collective (John Akomfrah), Henrik Andersson, Problem Collective, Chto Delat, Harun Farocki, Dora García, Benj Gerdes, Salad Hilowle, Sam Hultin, Ingela Johansson, Hanni Kamaly, Patrick Kretschek, Mattin, Minus Miele, Ruben Nilson, Behzad Khosravi Noori, Gudrun Olsson, Oliver Ressler, Bella Rune, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Iris Smeds, Hito Steyerl, Margareta Ståhl, Hannah Wiker Wikström.


*The exhibition borrows its title from the militant feminist collective Precarias a la deriva (Precarious women adrift) 2004. The collective was formed in Madrid in 2002 in reaction to the male-dominated unions that were organising a general strike in reaction to labour law reforms in Spain. Precarias a la deriva wanted to highlight the challenges many face in participating in strikes, due to a reality of precarious employment and a higher burden of reproductive work. They wanted to create a collective situated narrative on the general tendency toward the precarization of life they were experiencing and the ways to revolt and resist in our everyday lives. – Precarias a la deriva, Una huelga de mucho cuidado (Cuatro hipótesis), 2004. 


A Careful Strike*
Curated by Michele Masucci
ABF-Huset, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm
7 Oct -11 Dec 2021

Transformation of Care

Excerpt from “Rebel Maids” by Ana Julieta Teodoro Cleaver in NLR Sidecar, 23 November 2021:

“The Brazilian cartoon series Irmão do Jorel offers a cosy-satirical picture of family life, not unlike The Simpsons. Strikingly, however, there is a character with no homologue in the US series: the family’s maid, represented as a purple octopus – amorphous, voiceless, nameless, with eight arms ready to carry out any task requested of her (for a representative episode, see here).


In 2016, a rapper and former maid, Preta-Rara, shared some memories of her time in domestic service on Facebook and was flooded with responses from other domestic workers. The page she set up for them soon garnered thousands of personal stories, from multiple viewpoints – giving voice to the experiences of Brazilian domestic workers in a way that cold official statistics could never do.

In 2019 Preta-Rara – real name, Joyce Fernandes; preta rara translates as rare or precious black girl – produced a compilation of these social media accounts in a book, Eu, Empregada Doméstica (I, Domestic Servant) with the subtitle: ‘The Maid’s Room is the Modern Slave Quarters’.”


Tarja-Preta (Preta Rara & Negra Jack): “Falsa Abolição” (2013):



“The aggravation of precarious social conditions suggests to some that we are moving forward towards the past. In Critique of Black Reason (2013), Achille Mbembe argued that the world is becoming nègre, as capitalism accentuates the exclusion, alienation and degradation of workers in general. From another perspective, the question of care provides a route to the future. For the Madrid collective Precarias a la Deriva, care should be a guiding principle in all political-economic considerations. Fraser argues that struggles over social-reproduction – encompassing housing, healthcare, food security, migrants’ and workers’ rights, day care, elder care, paid parental leave – are ‘tantamount to the demand for a massive reorganization of the relations between production and reproduction’.”

(Read the full piece at NLR Sidecar)


Regarding the Swedish Dockworkers Union (Svenska Hamnarbetarförbundet), see also:

Worker Power on the Swedish Docks,” an interview with Erik Helgeson by Katy Fox-Hodess in Jacobin, 27 February 2019.