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Updated: Nov 26, 2022

CW: femicide, violence, murder

31-2021 vintage & second hand embroidery thread and wool on antique linen. 67x31cm.

31 is the number of murdered women in austria for the year of 2021. 31 women killed, 30 of which – allegedly – by their (ex)partners, acquaintances or family members. (source: autonome österreichische frauenhäuser)

according to wikipedia, femicide is a hate crime term, broadly defined as “the intentional killing of women or girls because they are female”, though definitions vary depending on its cultural context. Feminist author Diana E. H. Russell was the first person to define and disseminate this term in modern times, in 1976. She defines the word as “the killing of females by males because they are female.” Other feminists place emphasis on the intention or purpose of the act being directed at females specifically because they are female. Others include the killing of females by females.”

at some point in spring of 2021, instead of helplessly following the news about every single case of yet another murdered woman, i decided to start keeping count; to fill a space with stitches for every woman killed. this piece serves several purposes; it’s a way of keeping count, of documentation. it’s a way of sitting with emotions around gendered violence, women’s rights, gender stereotypes and the patriarchy. it is also a way of activism, making something visible, or as my friend marlies puts it, “das unbegreifliche berührbar machen” – which losely translates to “making the ungraspable tangible”. and it’s a coping strategy within the means of my work with textiles and threads.

most of this piece was stitched very intuitively. my approach was to read one or two sources, then choose a kind of thread, thread my needle and start stitching without planning or thinking ahead too much. usually my fingers find their way and a pattern surfaces, i just follow. so there is meaning in each and every stitched space, but mostly, if at all, only visible to me. which, at the same time i think leaves space for your own thoughts, emotions and associations when viewing or interacting with this piece.

17.1.2021, aschach an der steyr; 71 years

17.1.2021, anger bei weiz; 61 years

3.2.2021, wien; 45 years

23.2.2021, wien; 28 years

5.4.2021, wien; 35 years

22.3.2021, salzburg; 22 years

7.4.2021, graz; 38 years

22.4.2021, neulengbach; 64 years

29.4.2021, wien; 35 years

5.5.2021, wien; 72 years

6.5.2021, wals-siezenheim; 50 & 76 years

11.5.2021, vöcklabruck; 79 years *

12.5.2021, wien; 36 years *

26.6.2021, wien; 13 years

17.7.2021, wien; 36 years *

21.7.2021, graz; 17 years

28.8.2021, fürstenbrunn – großgmain; 44 years

30.8.2021, maishofen; 71 years

13.9.2021, wien; 35 years

13.9.2021, wien; 37 years

20.10.2021, deutsch-brodersdorf; 42 years

29.10.2021, bürs; 47 years

8.11.2021, weerberg; 86 years *

14.11.2021, wien; 37 years

16.11.2021, villach; 29 years

19.11.2021, innsbruck; 50 years

21.11.2021, eibesbrunn; 49 years

24.11.2021, innsbruck; 28 years

30.11.2021, wien; 60 years *

16.12.2012, hohenems; 35 years

update 18.2.2022:

* the list i work with counts every woman where the circumstances of her death point toward a possible femicide. if a death is ruled a femicide (homicide) is decided in courts. for the deaths of five of the women who became part of this documentation piece, investigations revealed that there was no foul play involved, meaning their deaths were ruled as accidents or other circumstances, but not femicides. i marked them with an asterisk (*) for full transparency. according to the article linked below the total number of femicides in austria for 2021 were 26. 26 women killed, because they were women, and almost all of them by their partners.

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