Anglia Ruskin University
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(Un)Monuments of the Everyday. Marking the Journey from Home to Work through the Experience of Venetian Weaving Factory’s Workers

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-08-14, 15:33 authored by Elena CologniElena Cologni

How does an investigation of women’s attachment to workplaces uncover instances of care, and indeed uncare, within power relations in/and place? Can we consider interventions in public space as forms of (un)monuments celebrating hidden or invisible experiences of place in the everyday1? Taking inspiration from an image of the public space in Venice in the Barbara Hepworth Archive, in the ongoing project ‘The Body of/at Work’ (premiered at the Italian Pavilion, 17a Mostra di Architettura, la Biennale di Venezia, 2021) these questions were investigated through the dialogic ‘caring-with’2 methodology, including conversations and situated interventions in the form of ‘experiential exercises’ with the use of dialogic sculptures. The attachment to place3 is central to the development of one’s own identity, and it develops in relation to others. The routes that one regularly takes in the city, the city ballets4 are one of the contributing factors5 in this process. “People encounter the world as they move and rest, dwell and journey”6 and this is bound up in social memory, and embodied knowledge.7 The project developed through stages in relation to specific contexts in the city, and starting from dialogues with the workers from the Venetian Bevilacqua weaving company. They discussed how they relate to places in the city on their daily routes to, and back from, work, as well as within the place of work. The archive research in the Venice City Council libraries revealed areas in the city where places of women paid and unpaid labour8 once was undertaken. Most of these were, and some still are, public spaces, and some of these jobs we considered to be domestic and part of women’s caring responsibilities. By uncovering a dynamic of an ever-shifting threshold9 in the caring/uncaring power dynamics in private and public space, the performative ‘experiential exercises’, carried out in pairs, mark these locations as (un)monuments to the everyday.



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Queen’s University Belfast, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, National University of Singapore

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  • Cambridge School of Art Outputs