AS LONG AS HE MAKES THE CASH WHILE I WORK FOR CHANGE, I WILL BE A FEMINIST
A feminist art intervention in the heart of Vienna, on one of the THE tourist paths, lined with numerous flagship stores of top international brands, a place of visible prosperity: What could be more obvious than to make the distribution of work and money a subject of discussion and question it from a feminist point of view?
The new SOLANGE (AS LONG AS) sentence not only addresses the gender pay gap between the incomes of women and men, but also the struggle - especially of the younger generation - for lasting change. " ... while I work for change ..." refers to small cash amounts as well as the concrete commitment to a possible fair future. This short subordinate clause, which is difficult to translate into German due to its ambiguity, includes work for little money, but also unpaid housework, care work inside and outside the family, which is performed by a large majority of women. The current Corona crisis shows very clearly that women are the first and largest group affected by unemployment (Austria: currently 85% women).
Based on this understanding, we have chosen two possible translations of the current SOLANGE sentence into German:
Solange er auf Profit setzt und ich auf den Wandel, bin ich Feminist:in.
Solange er an der Börse abräumt, während ich meine kaum fülle, bin ich Feminist:in.
"Far-reaching differences are still marked or defined by gender. For decades, gender pay gap, lack of wage transparency, effects of poorly paid part-time jobs on pensions have been recurring themes," the artist argues. "SOLANGE embroiders this central feminist theme right into the golden Viennese heart: SOLANGE is meant to shake people up, stimulate discussion, make them aware that change is the task of all of us.
Cibulka always sees her "art in public space" installations in connection with the context of the building, the geographical environment. A bank at such a prominent address is symbolic of wealth and power. At the same time, the task of a bank is to redistribute money, that is, to make it available to those who need it. In this respect, a bank also enables change. The new SOLANGE slogan thus fits perfectly with the history of the building on which the net is mounted.
In keeping with the artist's intention, SOLANGE aims to appeal to as many committed people as possible who want to drive change forward: closing the pay gap between women and men, distributing unpaid work equally between all genders, and making a powerful commitment to protecting our planet. Banks can play a key role in making necessary system changes by using their instruments in a variety of ways. Change is only possible if we win many people over.
About the Project:
We explore this fundamental question in our project SOLANGE (German for: as long as). Following one of feminism’s key issues – the quest for social justice – our project targets a broad social spectrum of gender-specific inequalities. The starting point of our research are interviews conducted with local people, asking them how long they will be feminists. We then create sentences based on their answers and embroider them onto dust nets in meter-high letters made of pink tulle. We will indeed present controversial slogans that address current problems, but also imply hope for a change. It is a kind of constructive provocation that wants to withhold blame or judgement. By using the public space for these messages, we declare it a political space. For two years, we have been wrapping construction sites (a traditionally male dominated space) with dust nets that are embroidered (a traditionally female dominated craft). The applied sentences point unmistakably at the existing imbalances. Every construction site has its own challenges and shapes the Solange-sentence and vice versa.
- Katharina Cibulka and the Solange Team
External facade of Erste Group Bank AG, Tuchlauben 4, 1010 Vienna