MZHK-1980: A Place on Earth. 6th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

MZHK-1980 looks at the history of the Youth Residential Complex and other experiments in arranging life on Earth. MZHK-1980 includes two exhibitions, a public and children’s program, theatrical performances and art interventions, excursions, and the publication of a book.

The research exhibition What Makes Us Better and the art exhibition A Place on Earth jointly reveal the history of the youth movement for building accommodation in the late USSR, combining historical documents and testimonies of the movement’s participants with works of artists dedicated to experiments in housing construction in the XX century, as well as the self-organization of different communities in relationship to their land. What Makes Us Better is curated by Liudmila Starostova. A Place on Earth presents the work of: Joaquim Pedro de Andrade, Jonathas de Andrade, Sasha Davai, Adelita Husni-Bey, Sarah Lehnerer, Sasha Saltanova, Jonas Staal, Alen Tanner, Werker Collective and is curated by Masha Domracheva.

Werker Collective presents Preliminary Studies Towards the Nieuwe Nieuwsmarkt (2018–ongoing) an installation and sound piece about the role of self-organised media in the articulation of urban struggles, in the past and in the present, departing from Amsterdam’s Nieuwmarkt Riots from the 1970’s. 

03/09 – 24/10/2021

6th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art
Yeltsin Center Art Gallery. 
Boris Yeltsin St. 3, 
Yekaterinburg, Russia.

In the Presence of Absence

In the Presence of Absence: Proposals for the Museum Collection shows a selection of artworks and design projects that challenge the idea of collective knowledge and public consciousness through stories that remain unseen, have been ignored or may be told more often within large public institutions. Spanning more than 14 rooms and work by 23 artists and artist collectives, the interdisciplinary exhibition In the Presence of Absence presents a selection of (counter) narratives that challenge fixed ideas about our society and question how history is written. When not addressed by organizations such as schools, libraries, archives, and museums, the absence of these stories forms knowledge gaps within the public debates that shape our collective consciousness and memory.

05/09/2020 – 31/01/2021

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Museumplein 10
1071 DJ Amsterdam

Collective Practices Research Program

The Politics of Sleep. A commission led by Julia Morandeira Arrizabalaga and Werker within the Collective Practices Research Program. This program draws on current research, publications and projects that involve collective methods in the arts, sciences and society. In a transdisciplinary seminar, we gather specialists to address current controversies and experimentations in various fields. This repertoire includes attitudes, activities, tools and infrastructures that have been developed by individuals and organizations to reflect critically on the ownership, governance and division of disciplines, and to bring about a more inclusive and sustainable society.

09/2020 – 06/2021
Royal Institute of Art

Weaving counter-archives

A workshop which examines the cross-functional shape of analogue bodies and digital identities. How is a combination of our past, present and future transformed by archives and data banks? The group studies the possible ways of shaping a counter-archive through weaving, printing and performing of the identities which have been overlooked by official history. Those of whom their voices have been silenced, made invisible and are unheard due to issues such as gender, labour, class, cultural background, sexual identity or (dis-)abilities.

4–6 February 2020
ÉSAD Valence, France.

A Gestural History of the Young Worker — 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

‘Werker 2 — A Gestural History of the Young Worker’ will premiere at the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Werker Collective compiled this publication during an art residency in the Urals—the Soviet industrial heartland—where the strong, athletic bodies of workers, with severe and determined faces, firm and coordinated gestures, were once celebrated in painting, sculpture, and photography. The Soviet visual glorification of the worker and labour rested upon the Marxist dialectical imperative to overcome alienation between different elements of social structure, namely the gap between physical and intellectual labour. In early Soviet political vocabulary, the word smychka indicated this drive towards collaboration and union in society. Werker Collective, simultaneously inspired by emancipatory politics of the international labour movement and by the body liberationist politics of the radical queers and feminists, offers yet another kind of smychka, that is a utopian synthesis of work and desire.

12/09 – 1/12/2019

Ural Optical and Mechanical Plant
Ekaterinburg, 33b Vostochnaya Street.
5th Ural Industrial Biennial


26 images from Werker Collective’s archive served as ignition for 13 research projects questioning the changing nature of images, documents and the archive in the digital era and how this affects our bodies and the world that surrounds us. The result of this research is presented in the form of a newspaper installation that invites the visitor to engage with the content both intellectually and physically. Project made by the 2nd Year Graphic Design & Photography department of the Estonian Academy of Arts EAA.

11 – 15/03 2019 EAA, Estonia pst 7, Tallin. Opening 15/03 18 pm

The Giant Floating Eyeball: Finance & Algorithm

Werker Collective are invited to the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague to join the students of the Graphic Design department on their research on the phenomenon of automated data processing and how this relates to notions such as market, speculation, debt, crash, crisis, etc.

08/03/2019 KABK, Den Haag.

Sixteen neighbourhoods, a thousand cities: photographs for other narratives of Barcelona.

This exhibition responds to the need to reverse the too often unidirectional working dynamics between the centre and the periphery; between the professional and the amateur. Aware that the image of a city is at the centre of a network of knowledge, experiences and circumstances, the artists and photographers participating propose to open spaces for interaction and dialogue with the neighbours in order to document the identities in constant transformation of each of the neighbourhoods.

16/02/2019 – 31/03/2019 (from Thursday to Sunday)

Borsí building. Pl. de la Verònica. Barcelona.

Werker 2 — A Spoken History of the Young Worker

1 / 8
2 / 8
3 / 8
4 / 8
5 / 8
6 / 8
7 / 8
8 / 8

Technical specifications: Offset publication, 108 pp, 75 black-white images, stapled, Amsterdam / Krakow / Winterthur 2016, Edition Number: 1, Width: 29,7 cm, Length: 42 cm, Language(s): Several languages. 1000 copies.

This issue of Werker Magazine presents images and documents that have been compiled from secondhand bookstores, online booksellers, personal archives, and street markets over the last few years. How can documents, that originate from different geographies and historical contexts, be performed by its readers? Pre-organized collectives or any engaged visitors are invited to perform an Image Act using the microphones and scenography provided in the exhibition space. The performances can take any shape but only its sound is recorded. Transcending the borders of the institution into the local context, the recordings are broadcast in public space. A website will keep on expanding, revealing fragments of the recordings and the locations of broadcast.

Credits: Editors (Werker), Text (Werker Archive), Images (Werker Archive), Design (Werker), Publisher (Werker), Funding (Mondriaan Fonds, Manifesta 11, Krakow Photomonth).

Diffusion: ‘The Applicant’ Embassy of the Netherlands. Berlin, Germany. ‘Werker 2 — A Spoken History of the Young Worker’ Manifesta 11 Parallel Events. Winterthur Fotomuseum, Switzerland. ‘Imagineering — (Re)activating the Photographic’ Krakow Photomonth. Poland.

Price: €20,- / Shipping: €4,50 (Europe only)

More information:

Werker 6 — Cinema Diary

1 / 12
2 / 12
3 / 12
4 / 12
5 / 12
6 / 12
7 / 12
8 / 12
9 / 12
10 / 12
11 / 12
12 / 12

Technical specifications: Offset publication, 87 pp, 76 colour images, stapled, Amsterdam 2013, Edition Number: 1, Width: 16 cm, Length: 23 cm, Language(s): English. 500 copies.

This publication presents images and work documents of Matthijs Diederiks (28, artist & filmmaker, Amsterdam). It is photographed and collected during his side job at Cinema Pathé Arena in Amsterdam from 2008 until 2010. Cinema Diary is the first issue of Werker 6, a collection of photo-diaries that reflect on the current working conditions of the youth through modes of self-representation and amateur photography.

Credits: Editors (Werker), Text (Cinema Pathé Arena), Images (Matthijs Diederiks), Design (Werker), Publisher (Werker), Funding (Amsterdam Fonds voor de Kunst).

Diffusion: ‘Werker 6 — Cinema Diary’ San Serriffe. Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ‘Our Work is Never Over’ Matadero. PHotoEspaña. Madrid, Spain.

Price: €15,- / Shipping: €4,50 (Europe only)


  • 2022 ‘Els artistes ‘hackegen’ el CaixaForum’ Antoni Ribas Tur, Diari ARA. Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2022 ‘¡Ratas! ¡Ratas! ¡Ratas!, o cuando el hacker es el artista’ Teresa Sesé, La Vanguardia. Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2021 ‘Sonic Spectres’ Eva Scharrer. Spike Art Magazine. Vienna, Austria.
  • 2021 ‘Review of Sonsbeek 20/24’ Ben Livne Weitzman. Arts of the Working Class. Berlin, Germany.
  • 2021 ‘Wij zijn hier voor de lange termijn’ Domeniek Ruyters. Metropolis M. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2021 ‘Aufarbeitung, Versöhnung, Heilung?’ Nicola Kuhn. Der Tagesspiegel. Berlin, Germany.
  • 2021 ‘We had Plans’ Anna van Leeuwen and Sarah van Binsbergen. Volksrant. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2020 ‘Performing Preformations: Elements for a Historical Formalism. Sven Lütticken. E-flux Journal. New York, USA.
  • 2020 ‘Tips for Binge-Watching During a National Lockdown’ Maja Klaassens. Vu Art & Culture. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2020 ‘Imaging Dissent: Towards Becoming a Common Subject’ Werker Collective. Art & Education. E-flux. New York, USA.
  • 2019 ‘A union of work and desire’ Georgy Mamedov. Tribune Magazine. London, UK.
  • 2019 ‘Roaming as a way of schooling’ DAI in Sardinia. Giulia Crispiani. Metropolis M. Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • 2018 ‘365 days of invisible work’ camera austria international 142.
    2017 ‘werker collective and the worker photographers: taking back control of the image’ charlie clemoes. novara media. london, uk.
    2016 ‘is the personal still the political?’ siona wilson. exit theory. british art studies #4. london, u.k.
  • 2016 ‘o dyscyplinowanym i erotyzowanym ciele mlodego robotnika’ nowa orgia mysli. poland.
  • 2013 werker sweatshop y los abecedarios del conflicto. a*desk, barcelona, spain.
  • 2013 fotografía para leer. el país, madrid, spain.
  • 2013 werker sweatshop: la vida penosa de los artistas. el país, madrid, spain.
  • 2011 stedelijk museum bureau amsterdam. the visual artbeat, issue 7. salzburg, austria.
  • 2011 de eindjes aan elkaar knopen. tubelight. amsterdam, the netherlands.
  • 2011 alternatieven als antwoord op het kapitalisme. art. antwerpen, belgium.
  • 2011 1979, a monument to radical moments. frieze magazine. london, united kingdom.