BELLE ROOM X EDIT with Ann Richter, Aditi Singh, Handina Murandu and Vivien Flavia Maria Sorrentino, hosted by Mia Hofner, reading by Frederik Müller and performance by Lili Alexander, 10. November 2023, Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig
Hourly rates below the minimum wage, insecure employment and overtime – even for designers, work in the literary industry is notoriously precarious. At the same time, as graphic designers, working in the cultural sector is considered particularly valuable, often explained with the great creative freedom it allows. But the hierarchization of cultural practices – the assumption that, for example, certain fields of work or aesthetics are more valuable than others – runs primarily along certain class constructions.
Literary magazines as cultural objects are class markers. Thus, designing literary magazines is also tied to a promise of class privileges, such as the idea of individual development and self-fulfillment, visibility and status. Jobs within the literary industry often lead to little financial profit. More significant is the cultural and symbolic capital that is gained from them and the question of who profits from this precarious, often labeled as „volunteer“ work and in what way.
Moreover, precarity does not affect everyone equally. Working conditions make the cultural sector particularly difficult to access for people who are already affected by socio-economical disadvantages, especially when several forms of discrimination coincide – women who are obliged to do care work in addition to wage labour, refugees whose degrees have lost value due to migration, children of migrant workers whose culture is treated as inferior: Who can afford to work creatively and whose artistic development and self-fulfillment is wanted?
Belle Room and Edit invite designers of literary magazines to a conversation about how collaborative work between designers, editors, and authors could look like, taking into account the social positioning of the individuals in order to make the literary industry more accessible. Belle Room is a conversation space that discusses design as a creative practice, but also as labor, embedded in a capitalist system. Is it possible to work creatively and at the same time under good conditions within this system and if so: how?
with Mio Kojima, Imad Gebrayel and Golnar Kat Rahmani, hosted by Mia Hofner, 17. October 2022, Kunsthalle am Hamburger Platz
For our opening discussion “On the (Im)possibilities of Critical Design Practices” at the weißensee academy of art berlin Imad Gebrayel, Golnar Kat Rahmani and Mio Kojima gave an insight into their personal (design) practices and shed light on how they implement their political beliefs into their work and the challenges this presents from an intersectional perspective. They also shared their tactics and approaches when dealing with these struggles. The evening was hosted by Mia Hofner and accompanied by a performance of Türkish Delight.