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Taking a time out is all the rage at the moment, it seems to have become the latest hype and, therefore, also a lucrative market. While some people take a time out from work and travel to Thailand for a three-month yoga retreat, others treat themselves to a five-minute extra break each day with a cup of «Time-Out Tea».

Herbstlabor explores the broad and vague meaning of the term time out, whilst taking into account how closely intertwined it is with the neo-liberal basic structure of the current economic and social system. On the one hand, taking a time out fits in well with our high-performance and self-optimisation society, in which «unproductive» breaks are deemed less desirable and taking a short break should lead to everyday life being more efficient. While on the other hand, a self-empowerment (illusion) can arise while taking a time out. Since the individual trapped in everyday life can – so the promise – enjoy a relaxing, albeit limited, break and step «out of time» for a moment.

The issue of time out is to be illuminated in a variety of artistic and/or scientific contexts as part of Herbstlabor. The focus is firmly on the close links to religion, (gendered) bodies as well as resistant practices and appropriations.


In a public lecture the German medical historian and gender researcher Barbara Duden will reflect on the concept of time-out.

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