From the 1900s, Berlin was the largest industrial location in Germany. Yet behind the visible work in the factories lay the invisible work at home. Cooking, caring, cleaning, educating, sex - or as Silvia Federici and Nicole Cox wrote in 1975: “Housework, in fact, is much more than house cleaning. It is servicing the wage earner physically, emotionally, sexually, getting him ready to work day after day for the wage.” Accounting the Household! takes a look at homes, bedrooms and kitchens in the industrial northwest of Berlin. The films show care work and reproductive work between economic coercion and refusal, domestic community and abandonment, children and childlessness, marriage, divorce and social retreat, entangled in dependencies, resistance and social expectations. A special focus is on the years of change from the early sixties to the eighties. After industrial work had dominated everyday life in the north of West Berlin for almost a century, the region's largest employers closed their plants within just twenty years following the construction of the Berlin Wall. What happens to the “servicing of the wage earner” in a time of great uncertainty, between mass layoffs and the construction of the Wall, against the backdrop of the emerging Second Wave Feminism?
Funded by Aktionsfonds QM Soldinerstr
Kaspar Aebi is a film and media studies scholar, curator and author. His main interests are pop culture, architecture, documentary and experimental filmmaking.