interview with Mierle Laderman Ukeles

During 2007 Paris based critic Bénédicte Ramade interviewed Mierle Laderman Ukeles. Ukeles has been artist in residence at the New York City Sanitation Department since 1977, devoting her entire career to thinking about garbage, recycling and ecology and the endless, invisible labor of keeping everything clean.

Mierle Laderman Ukeles: I had a huge long education in art, in international relations, the very best cause that you can find. But nobody, NOBODY, ever taught any culture of maintenance because it was not in the culture, it was excluded from the culture. You do all these repetitive works, not for yourself but works for the others. It has to do with not pursuing your own freedom but when you’re a maintenance worker, it doesn’t matter about your freedom, it matters about the person, or the city, or the building, or the anything, the institution, or even the planet itself.
click here to read the interview
imageHartford Wash: Washing, Tracks, Maintenance: Inside and Hartford Wash: Washing, Tracks, Maintenance: Outside, image and some introductory words lifted from a Women's Media Centre publication by Regina Cornwell


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