Oh the World Stops, if We Stop / NEWS MEDLEY feat. Sirens of Varsány

Collective reading


01.05 8:00 pm

online event

Participating artists: Sirens of Varsány

Participating curators: Katalin Erdődi


Meeting ID: 958 2019 8696 / Passcode: 101832

With the kind support of: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport

“My boyfriend didn’t notice that I clean the toilet twice a week with Domestos, he thought it simply stays so clean.”

May Day calls for the celebration of all the work we do, so the artistic team of News Medley and the feminist choir Varsányi Szirének (Sirens of Varsány) have decided to gather online to celebrate the invisible work done predominantly by women* with a collective reading. They will share a collection of personal stories written for this occasion and start an open, informal discussion with one another and the audience. 

Certain types of work, such as house work, care work, or the ‘mental burden’ of organising the minute details of everyday life, are called invisible, because they are neither acknowledged, nor paid. Or like in the story above, they go entirely unnoticed or are simply ignored.

        “Woman, woman, she takes care of everything 

        And does the housework on top of it 

        What help are household appliances 

        If I have to cook lunch for three families?”

In News Medley the Women’s Choir of Kartal sings about the daily routine of hard work that they had known since early childhood, including all the work invested in the household and in taking care of their families, due to which their “working days drag on endlessly”, even now, though most of them are already retired. One of their songs’ refrains resounds the demands of the Wages for Housework Movement in the 1970’s and claims: “Oh, if only wages for housework were paid, I would be a millionaire right away!”

Members of the Budapest-based feminist choir Varsányi Szirének were inspired by the lyrics of News Medley to reflect on their own experiences and thoughts about invisible work. On 1 May they will share this collection of subjective stories and perspectives, which is also the starting point for the new medley of songs that they are preparing for the public performances of News Medley, where they will perform together with the Kartal choir on 28 and 29 May 2021, on the closing weekend of the OFF-Biennale.

“It was also invisible, how my mother and my grandmothers always had to keep in mind, in what condition household appliances and furniture are, what needs to be replaced, what needs special care, so that it doesn’t get damaged. How to get rid of the mould in the bathroom, or the moth invasion in the pantry, or the cockroaches in the kitchen… This kind of knowledge is not recognised at all.”

All women*, all ages collect your wages! 

Join us for a celebration of invisible work!

*Everyone who identifies as a woman.

The event is part of the public program of News Medley, a collaboration between artist Alicja Rogalska, curator Katalin Erdődi, folk singer Réka Annus and the Women’s Choir of Kartal. A coproduction of OFF-Biennale Budapest and Art At Work Association, Vienna. With the kind support of: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport

Online event (Zoom and YouTube livestream)

We will share the Zoom-link on the day of the event.

Please note: the event will be in Hungarian!