The Song of the Shirt

The Song of the Shirt

documents certain modes of production in the fields of agriculture, weaving, processing, knitting and story telling, which on the one hand can be understood as narrative structures that can tell us of complex social transformations in daily life experiences. And, as a counter-narrative, the voices – an exchange of letters – seek for subverted forms of sabotage, practices of weaving the stories and telling the textiles that are “making practices, pedagogical practices and cosmological performances” (D. Haraway).
Departing from the play Die Maschinenstürmer (1922) by Ernst Toller, the film relocates from England in the early 19th century to the current situation of post-2011 Egypt and further to post-industrial Poland. Nawara and Kerstin exchange letters about their collaborative work on storytelling and handcrafts. The physical legacy of productive labour and the materiality of cotton production are translated into performance practices, juxtaposed with installative segments consisting of white cotton fabric, serving as projection screens for several videos and a 16mm film. 

The Song of the Shirt seeks to form a contemporary critique of technology, giving the Luddite movement a new reading, while reflecting upon the biopolitics of the worker today and how technologies enhance and inform working bodies. Slowing down, stopping, not proceeding. Deviating the progressive form.


The Song of the Shirt
47 min, 2020

by Kerstin Schroedinger
with letters exchanged by Nawara Belal
and Kerstin Schroedinger


Maha Maamoun
Natalia Rolòn
Omnia Sabry
Kerstin Schroedinger

and the crew as choir

director of photography
Bernadette Paassen

focus / light
Svea Immel

sound recording
Manuela Schininà

set design / costume
Sophia Sylvester Röpcke

assistant director
Wibke Tiarks

production assistant
Nele Jäger

Katherine MacBride
Andrea Thal

filmed at Flutgraben e.V. Berlin