After Kümmernis: The Intersections of Struggle, Liberation and Movements Born of Grief

Sam RICHARDSON (Fellow) in conversation with local organizers, artists and thinkers regarding gender, identity, historical erasure and future possibility

Photo: Sam Richardson

After Kümmernis (meaning “grief” or “anxiety”) refers to the legacy of the dethroned Saint Kümmernis who had a large following and presence in the Tyrolean region centuries ago. St. Kümmernis, a bearded woman, became the patron saint of liberation by those seeking relief – particularly women seeking relief from abusive husbands or domestic situations, and by survivors of sexual assault, rape and incest, as well as those in captivity. Depending on the region and era, she is known by other names, such as St. Uncumber (England), St. Wilgefortis and St. Liberata (Italy). In the course of the 1969 liturgical purge, St. Kümmernis was removed from the Catholic calendar. Many in the church saw her as a denigration of Christ – a nonbinary body that resembled Christ and thus had a negative association with queerness. Her removal represents a historical erasure of gender-based violence. If the person to whom one is praying for deliverance is portrayed as illegitimate, then the reality or history of the violence is understood as false.

With this history in mind, the event will bring together people working within the Innsbruck community who are involved with subjects related to the legacy of Kümmernis’s offerings. How does the history of a landscape reflect its current moment – be it struggles, violence, inequity or even joy? Why do we continue to do the work we do, fight the fights we fight and love the way we love? How are these various experiences intertwined, how do we advocate for each and ourselves together?

In that, Julia Scolati from IBUS will join us to share about work being done in the sex worker community of Tirol – historically a marginalized community who has undergone mistreatment and dismissal along the lines of morality and gender. Members from the monthly gathering “Fear the Queer” will join to share about their community gatherings, the work of radical queerness in Innsbruck, and why it is still essential to create queer spaces. Gina Disobey from Initiative Bürglkopf schließen will join to speak about the conditions of asylum here in Tirol, as well as how they work to support those held in the extremely isolated asylum center. In addition, Nina Tabassomi, director of TAXISPALAIS Kunsthalle Tirol, and a member of Feministisches Aktionskollektiv (FAK) will join us. All participants will make a short presentation regarding their work and why they do the work they do.

The discussion that will follow is an attempt to open dialogue, raise awareness of various projects, and to explore the intersections of various movements and struggles that exist today and have existed throughout history. We will also explore what envisioning different futures of possible realities may look and feel like. From legacies of grief, what may grow?

This event takes place in the context of Sam Richardson‘s artistic investigation A Saintly Curse Continued: The Legacy of What is Seen and Unseen.


Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen is – unfortunately! – not wheelchair accessible.

There are genderneutral bathrooms available on the same floor as the event.

FFP2 Masks will be worn throughout the event, and keeping distance is encouraged.

There will not be ASL interpretation, but subtitles will be provided on all videos and media.

Please refrain from heavy use of scents in order to attempt a chemically sensitive environment.

Sam Richardson is an interdisciplinary artist working primarily in photography, as well as video, sound and writing. They are based in Los Angeles, CA. As an image-maker working in a documentary-informed practice, Richardson strives to unlearn, break open and find new ways of creating images that interrogate collaboration and photographic relationships in the context of the body, trauma and care. She utilizes her experience as a Crisis Counselor to survivors in New York and Los Angeles, abolitionism and personal history to enter their work with a practice of care and investigation into personal and shared experience.
They graduated from the Photography Department at the UCLA MFA program in 2020 where she TA-ed and supported professors in several art studio courses in the Art Department, as well as TA-ed in the Arts Education Department. They are dedicated to creating the most expansive and inclusive form of arts education from theory to practice. During winter 2020-21 she was Artist and Instructor in Residence at Urbano Project in Boston. Currently, they are the Director of Communications and a Teaching Artist at Creative Acts. In Fall 2021 they teach a Foundations course at California Institute for the Arts and a photography course with Las Fotos Project.


Künstler:innenhaus Büchsenhausen
Weiherburggasse 13
A-6020 Innsbruck

+43 512 27 86 27