Outcast Registration

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”, around 65% 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?



The archive of the OUTCAST REGISTRATION documents the results of all research projects, which are audiovisually processed. The data collected during all phases of the projects enables observations and comparisons to be made of the cultural, social, geographical, and political differences as well as the numerous parallels in the lives of the project participants.

All of the OUTCAST REGISTRATION projects focus on the biographies of drug-addicted women in Europe. In dialogue with the participants, the facts of their biographies are ascertained and put into a specific form with the aid of the Matrix Method, which presents their lives as a sequence of events and decisions, of actions and reactions.
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The conceptual architecture of the OUTCAST REGISTRATION is based on the study of different social spaces: the isolated space, the cultural space, and the public space. The situation and perspectives of drug-addicted women are made perceptible in terms of their social context in each of these spaces.
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The audiovisual portraits of the project THIS BABY DOLL WILL BE A JUNKIE (TBDWBAJ), which ran from 2004 to 2009, is based on 18 biographies of women drug addicts imprisoned in five Central European countries and serves as the foundation of OUTCAST REGISTRATION. The collaborative work with the women participating took place in four prisons and two therapy facilities for drug addiction in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Croatia. TBDWBAJ was funded from 2013 to 2018 by the programme “for the development and opening up of the arts” of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF; PEEK, FWF, Project No. AR 211-G21).
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The follow-up project PARRHESIA: THE RISKY ACTIVITY OF SPEAKING UP AND SPEAKING OUT again addresses the marginalised and vilified fringe group of drug-addicted women in prison and in arts-based research examines the powerlessness systematically imposed on them. The project will take place from 2021 to 2025 in northern and southern Europe. The project will complement the work begun with TBDWBAJ, whereby PARRHESIA extends the research radius of the OUTCAST REGISTRATION. The project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF within the Elise Richter PEEK programme (Project No. V-856).
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Both projects receive additional support from the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the Peter Weibel Research Institute for Digital Cultures Austria in the area of Art and Research as well as from the Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, as well as from other foundations and private sponsors.