OUTCAST REGISTRATION is a gender-specific arts-based research project that focuses on an issue that western European countries have consistently ignored. Although women drug addicts represent “only” 4 to 14% of Europe’s total population of drug users and are thus considered by the legal system and society as a “negligible phenomenon”, around65% of the inmates in women’s prisons are drug addicts. How can it be that this state of affairs leads to marginalisation of this group and what has brought them into this precarious position?
Since 1997 Ulrike Möntmann has been devising and carrying out multi-year projects in collaboration with junkies in prisons, therapeutic institutions, and rehabilitation centers in a number of western and eastern European countries with partners from the fields of art, science and the humanities, and politics. The interdisciplinary practice of art and research serves to decipher complex questions and issues which arise out of the collaboration between all project participants. The goal of the studies is to bring facts to light and identify specific connections from a variety of different perspectives. This is not about confirming the asymmetrical relationships with the women affected which certainly exist or about discussing the measures of the organs of executive power; the aim is to uncover the conditions in societal systems that are unthinkingly taken for granted and accepted.
OUTCAST REGISTRATION is a form of intervention, which requires reflecting upon and taking a stand in order to render the conditions transparent that are consolidated structurally in social processes in order to show that this is indeed a matter of public concern.
The audiovisual portrait THIS BABY DOLL WILL BE A JUNKIE (TBDWBAJ; 2004–2009) consists of eighteen biographies of female drug addicts from five western European countries and it forms the basis of OUTCAST REGISTRATION. The ensuing research was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Programme for Arts-based Research (PEEK, Project No. AR 211-G21) at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria, from 2013 to 2018.
The current arts-based research project, PARRHESIA: THE RISKY ACTIVITY OF SPEAKING UP AND SPEAKING OUT (2019–) continues the investigation carried out in TBDWBAJ and is also funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) Programme for Arts-based Research (Elise-Richter PEEK, Project No. V 856; sections of the project are planned to take place in prisons in northern and southern Europe in 2021–2025).