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Marwa Arsanios
Grüner Salon


Admission half an hour before the start of the performance.

With Laura Sundermann

Marwa Arsanios’ newly developed piece deals with traditional female roles of work and care in the context of the home and the workplace, specifically examining the theater as a workplace for women. In 2016, Arsanios first developed the piece as a site-specific performance for an apartment in Cologne, within the exhibition “Home Visit” of Museum Ludwig. In its first iteration, the performance took place in the apartment of “Chicks on Speed” member Melissa E. Logan, which is her and her son's home as well as her workplace. In its current iteration for the Grüner Salon, Arsanios adapts the setting, dramaturgy and reading selection to reflect on its specific location within the theater.

The reading performance is a collage of excerpts from a wide range of feminist literature with passages selected especially for the piece. Books by female authors such as Silvia Federici, Nina Power, and Leopoldina Fortunati are present in the room, and selected quotes from their work are activated by the reading and through various movements and activities. Arsanios uses the inherently performative space of the Grüner Salon to highlight the performance aspects of everyday activities historically done by women. Why are love and care considered inherently female attributes, represented as such in countless television series and plays? Why are paid and unpaid positions associated with these qualities still mostly filled by female-identifying people? To what extent does the domestic space serve economic structures in the name of love, and how are some of these domestic social dynamics reproduced in the workplace?

Is it easier for women to smile than for men?

The piece is performed by actor Laura Sundermann, who informed its development through her own experiences working in the theater. The position of the actor, her involvement in the work and her labor in the performance are self-reflexively integrated into the script.

The continually repeated half-hour performance, which itself is a form of immaterial work, as well as the act of reading aloud without directly addressing the outside world, distill the coexistence of intimacy and publicness, of personal and professional life, of reflection and performance.

Credit: Marwa Arsanios, Material for Work or How to Accomplish a “No-Smile” Strike. Ausstellungsansicht / installation view, Performance von Laura Sundermann, HIER UND JETZT im Museum Ludwig. Hausbesuch / HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig: Home Visit, 2016, Foto / Photo: Albrecht Fuchs / Rheinisches Bildarchiv, Köln.

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