Michaela Schweiger

„Vierundzwanzig Stunden und ein Arbeiterlied | Twenty-Four Hours and a Worker's Song"
5-video installation, 2020


The film installation "Twenty-Four Hours and a Workers' Song" fragmentarily parallels the daily routines and working worlds of seven precariously employed people, from the puppeteer to the security guard to the airport worker. The storylines of the work are based on the working hours of the different people documented in the film and describe a shift, from the protagonists' first hand movement to their last handshake. Shot mainly in Saxony-Anhalt, a federal state where a third of the working population is employed in the low-wage sector and almost 50 per cent of new employment contracts are fixed-term, "Twenty-Four Hours and a Worker's Song" shows the film's protagonists as representatives of our present-day desolidarised working world in a prosperous but socially unequal country.

Like an image of longing, a choir appears again and again, interrupting the routine of the working people. While the body of the choir and the lyrics of the song evoke the collective, this longing is counteracted by the manner of singing, such as a timid appropriation of combative passages by only a few voices, the disintegration into polyphony or even the deliberate drifting apart of the voices, as well as by the fragmentation of the images.


Michaela Schweiger completed her liberal arts studies at the Kunsthochschule Kassel and at the Universität der Künste, Berlin, where she graduated as a master student in 1998. She then studied in the postgraduate programme in Audiovisual Media at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, where she graduated in 2004. Since 2011, she has been a professor of time-based arts at Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule, Halle.

Schweiger is the winner of the 13th Bremen Video Art Promotion Prize and the 14th Marl Video Art Prize. She has received grants from the Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, the Senate for Cultural Affairs, Berlin, the Forum Stadtpark, Graz, the Museumsquartier, Vienna, the Female Artists Programme of the Senate for Science, Research and Culture, Berlin, the Villa Merkel, Esslingen, the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, the Filmstiftung NRW and the Kunstfonds Bonn. Group and solo exhibitions have taken her to Los Angeles, Mexico City, Moscow, Dresden, Hong Kong, Karlsruhe and Berlin.